Physical Work to Commence on Eleme, East-West Road as Power Contractor Visits PHED
By Samuel Onungwe
Moves to commence physical work on the Eleme section of the East-West is building up. This is because the contractor handling the relocation of the affected electrical facilities which are situated by the road billed for an upgrade has visited the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company at Ogale to seek technical assistance since the facilities belong to the PHED and they know its source and routes. Adaaji.com had contacted an informant who unraveled this plan. It could be recalled that after the peaceful #LightUpEleme Protest for the expansion of the dilapidated road, the management of the RCC was mobilised to site as demanded by the good people of Eleme and LG Chairman suspended the peaceful protest. Since then, only a preparatory work had commenced particularly, soil analysis for earmarked locations.
In the meantime, the road users have continued to suffer untold hardship as daily the condition of the road deteriorates with several broken vehicles, collapsed trucks, and containers from the fertilizers companies, Onne Sea Port, and the Port Harcourt refineries. Many persons travel as far as Agbonchia – Oyigbo road to navigate their way to the Port Harcourt – Aba expressway and into Port Harcourt main town.
The informant also, hinted that Eleme was recommended for 8 – 10 hours daily electricity supply due to poor response to payment of electricity bills. It is a known fact that communities who pay swiftly their electricity bills get more supply as the PHED enjoys doing business with them. On the other hand, communities with prepaid metres automatically get more electricity supply because they readily pay for what they use. This is convenient because, with as little as five hundred Naira (N500.00), one can purchase electricity units akin to call units on the phone. What then behooves on the consumers is how to manage the energy bought by switching off his or her appliances when not in use.
The 8 – 10 hours electricity supply recommendation for the people of Eleme was not hurriedly determined but was a product of a comprehensive SWOT Analysis carried out by the PHED officials and the idea was not to offer more than a community has the capacity and was willing to pay. However, these 12 – 16 hours of a proposed power cut, puts the power facilities in the place under threat as it makes them vulnerable to theft and vandalism. Criminals find it convenient to steal components or power equipment when they can easily predict when and when not there is no life in them.
The PHED had in the report submitted to top management divided Eleme into three clusters to effectively meet the electricity supply of the area provided the people are willing to give her the desired support in terms of paying their bills and on time. An informant had told adaaji.com that several ‘big men’ or rather bigwigs in Eleme do not readily pay their electricity bills as they lay claim to being traditional rulers/ stakeholders or erstwhile political leaders. The PHED wonders whether such titles or claims have purchasing power as regards buying and distributing power, maintaining power facilities, payment of rents, and payment of staff emoluments.
Some other challenges the PHED is laden with is the distance of conveying power from its substation particularly, at Elelenwo to Onne as the power distribution facilities are rather old or becoming weak. Similarly, thunderstorms and accidents result in the damage of electricity lines and equipment which truncates the flow of electricity to the people. This is the main reason Onne was cut off from electricity until the inauguration and intervention of Emere (Hon.) Obarilomate Ollor JP as the Eleme LG Chairman.
In fact, despite the recommendation of the PHED personnel, Eleme communities continue to enjoy about 15 hours of electricity daily because of the mode the newly inaugurated LG Chairman intervened in the situation and coupled with the fact that there is an industrial line in the area, it makes meaning to allow Eleme residents to enjoy power. If the residents boost their patronage to the power corporation and the LG authority continue to complement this move as seen today, through its monthly lump remittances to the power firm, Eleme will continue to enjoy near uninterrupted electricity with a commitment to improving its supply.