21st June, 2012
Mr. Jude Umeh, the Business Manager of PHCN in Umuahia, has said that electricity consumers in the area are owing the company more than N900 million.
Umeh told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Umuahia that the huge debt inherited from past administration was not only a setback, but a worry to the management.
“The outstanding debt my administration inherited is over N900 million. Customers are not even reducing the debt as expected; the debt rather keeps increasing every month.
“Only people who are used to paying are the people coming to pay every month, those in the habit of not paying are the people owing this huge debt,” he said.
Umeh said he had expected improvement in the payment of bills since the inauguration of the new power station at Ohiya, regretting that instead the debt had kept accumulating.
“The huge debt is adversely affecting the operations of PHCN in Umuahia, and we expect a change to further enhance the efficiency of power delivery in the Umuahia unit,” Umeh said.
The business manager, recently redeployed to Umuahia from Aba Business Unit, said if payment was prompt, the company would be able to pay for energy transmitted into its network and change faulty equipment.
NAN learnt that part of the huge debt was accumulated when power supply in the area was bad and the company kept billing buildings connected to its network with or without power supply. It was further gathered that most residents had until the inauguration of Ohiya substation on June 1, 2012, resorted tothe use of generators in their homes and business outlets in Umuahia.
On the low voltage being experienced in some part of Umuahia after the inauguration of Ohiya substation, the manager said it was due to obsolete equipment and line supplying power to the area.
He said the situation could be worse if they were not changed, adding: “Now that power is constant, some of these obsolete materials are giving ways because they are subjected to constant pressure.”
Umeh also attributed the cause to overloading of some transformers due to ‘suppressed load’ caused by overloading.
“The moment people noticed that the new 132/33kV transmission substation and 132KV DC transmission line at Ohiya was inaugurated, they began to use most of their equipment abandoned for years,” he said.
He appealed to customers to always report local faults to the fault section of PHCN, saying that officials were always available to tackle such problems.
“We can only monitor faults from our office; customers should cultivate the habit of reporting faults whenever they experience power cut,” Umeh said.