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HomeLatestFG Moves to Sack BEDC Management Over Epileptic Power Supply 

FG Moves to Sack BEDC Management Over Epileptic Power Supply 

Joel Osaigbovo Aluge, Reporting

Benin City

 

Barely a month after the takeover of Kaduna DisCo over a N10 billion debt, the federal government has concluded plans to take over Benin Electricity Distribution Company, BEDC, over prolonged poor performance.

BEDC, one of the successor distribution companies, created following the unbundling and privatization of the state-owned Power Holding Company of Nigeria Plc, currently distributes electricity in Delta, Edo, Ekiti, and Ondo states, with a geographical coverage of 57,353 square kilometres.

Checks by Vanguard, weekend, indicated that the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, an independent regulatory body with authority to regulate the electric power sector in Nigeria, has already penciled down new directors and management to manage the DisCo in the coming days.

Meanwhile, the governments of Delta, Edo, Ekiti, and Ondo states, which complained about poor service delivery to their people, have petitioned NERC, seeking to play active roles in the management of BEDC.

The states, which have indicated interest in exercising their rights to participate in the company’s decision-making, also called for the unbundling of the DisCo’s operational areas based on state boundaries, stressing that they had not given consent to other stakeholders, including the Bureau of Public Enterprises, BPE, to act on their behalf.

In their letter – Notification of Interest to Exercise Shareholder Rights in Benin Electricity Distribution Company – to NERC and sighted by Vanguard, the state governments, said: “We write to formally inform NERC of the intent of the governments of Delta, Edo, Ekiti and Ondo states (the BEDC State Governments) regarding our collective residual equity in the Benin Electricity Distribution Company, BEDC.

After a thorough evaluation of the operational deficiencies and services delivery failures to our states, the BEDC state governments intend to exercise our shareholder rights in BEDC, to ensure the efficient provision of electricity services to our citizens.

The provision of reliable electricity to enhance the welfare and development of our people is a core priority of our governments. As such, we cannot afford to overlook the critical importance of ensuring that electricity distribution services provided by BEDC meet the needs and expectations of our populace, henceforth.

“In exercising our shareholder rights, the BEDC state governments intend to actively be involved in the decision-making processes of BEDC, both at the board and management levels of the company, to strengthen service operations to enhance service delivery, improve operational efficiency, increase electricity access to unserved and underserved communities and ultimately, transform the electricity sector within our states.

“Please, note that our demand is not capricious and merely wishes to correct a historical lapse. We wish to emphasize that at no point did the BEDC state governments give any Power of Attorney (PoA) to either the federal ministry of finance incorporated or the bureau of public enterprises, BPE, with respect to our shareholding in PHCN successor, Benin Electricity Distribution Company, or the post-privatized entity.

It has come to our notice that the commission intends to exercise a regulatory takeover of BEDC by March 31, 2024. The commission is kindly requested to formally notify the BEDC state governments before taking any regulatory action to appoint new directors and a management team for the company. We also urge the commission to immediately commence the process of unbundling BEDC into operational areas along state boundaries.

We wish to assure the commission of our support and cooperation in exercising any regulatory action against BEDC and its core investor, provided our rights as shareholders in the company are not breached.

“Lastly, we kindly request a meeting with the commission to discuss our intention as outlined in the letter, viz, to exercise our rights in the company to work out how these rights will be exercised under the commission’s regulatory oversight and for the benefit of all stakeholders involved.”

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