The Benin Electricity Distribution Company has disconnected Edo State Police Command and Area Command over huge debts owing the firm, it was learnt.
Investigation revealed that BEDC had since January 2015 (this year) disconnected the Command which now runs on generator.
BEDC Public Relations Officer, Mr. Curtis says the police are indebted to the Company but did not state the specific amount.
But, Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Stephen Onwuche confirmed story.
According to him, “they said the transformer serving this headquarter and Area Command is bad and we have made efforts to reach out to BEDC and we are still talking approaching 8 months.
“Even the BEDC, each time they are in distress, we have always been their partner. We have never abandoned them. So, I think it is the colloquial doctrine of ‘you scratch my back, I scratch your back. Now, we have always been there for them each time they need us and now, we too, we are in need of light. They should please partner with us along this line and do for us what we equally do for them.”
However, the Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors, a group of 11 Energy Distribution Companies, may begin disconnection of power supply to military formations as well as Ministries, Departments and Agencies at every level of government as debts owed the power firms by the agencies stand at N26bn.
Speaking with journalists in Abeokuta on Monday, the Director, Research and Advocacy, ANED, Mr. Sunday Oduntan, said military formations in Kaduna, Lagos, Oyo, Kwara and Ogun states were owing the DISCOs more than N10bn out of the total debts.
He said this indebtedness was impeding the smooth distribution of electricity and other operations.
Giving a breakdown of the debts, Oduntan said the military and MDAs of both federal and state governments were owing Kaduna DISCO N6.7bn; Abuja DISCO, N7bn; Ibadan DISCO, N5.2bn; Eko DISCO, N2.3bn; Benin DISCO, N3.8bn; and Kano DISCO, N860m among others.
He said, “We need to understand that there are three layers in the value chain of electricity.
“We have the GENCOs; they generate electricity and sell to the Federal Government through the Transmission Company of Nigeria, which will then sell to us, DISCOs, 11 Distribution Companies across the country.
“Which means all the money we are collecting from distributing electricity to the public, we only retain less than 25 per cent of all money as our own. The remaining money goes to the other stakeholders.
“When you buy electricity, you supply. And the military, the MDAs and the people are either not paying their debts or stealing energy. We now suffer commercial and collection losses.
“In the case of non-payment, the greatest problem we have today is the Nigerian military. Giving the figures under the DISCOs or wherever you see military formations, they are owing huge electricity debts and the problem we have is that, most of these military formations have refused to pay and they are owing so much.
“I will just give you some of the examples. Under Ibadan DISCO, military owes N3.9bn; in Kaduna DISCO, the Nigerian military owes N6.3bn, and owes N263m in Kano DISCO.
“Our records also show that the military and MDAs are owing Abuja DISCO about N7bn, just as the military and para-military debts under Eko DISCO stand at N1.9bn.
“I am also aware that the military and Ministries, Departments and Agencies at various levels of government are owing the largest debts in all other DISCOs across the country and people are complaining about our services.
“With these mind-boggling debts, we can’t invest in metering; we can’t invest in transformers and I’m worried that the system may collapse.”
Oduntan, who accused military men (Army, Navy, Air Force) of beating up their men whenever they wanted to collect the electricity debts, appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene and rescue members of staff of power firms from the assault and humiliation.