The Enugu Electricity Distribution Company PLC (EEDC) has expressed concern over the increased incidences of vandalism of its electrical facilities across the South-East region.
This is following another round of arrest of eight persons who were involved in vandalism.
The EEDC said it was disturbed at the latest turn of events where vandals now resort to draining transformer oil, thereby subjecting the transformer to risk of blowing up once supply is restored.
In its quest to nip this ugly trend in the bud, with the support of customers and other critical stakeholders, a total of eight vandal suspects were arrested for attacking power equipment belonging to EEDC and have been handed over to the Police for proper investigation and possible prosecution.
Confirming this to newsmen in Enugu on Thursday, the Head of Corporate Communications, EEDC, Mr. Emeka Ezeh said that within the last quarter of the year, there is no day the company does not record an average of 3 transformers attacked across its franchise areas, most of which have their oil drained.
“Before now, the vandals have been carting away armored cables and bare conductors, but in recent times, we record more cases of drained transformer oil which poses greater danger to the transformer because it could get damaged when energized without any oil in it”, Ezeh explained.
“Once vandalism happens, our customers are thrown into darkness, homes are affected, and businesses are affected too as losses are recounted amid the inconveniences that lack of electricity supply brings,” he added.
According to Ezeh, “at Ndiagbo Ofeke Ishieke in Ebonyi Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, the vigilante group arrested Chinonso Mgbada, a native of Ugwuachara, also in Ebonyi Local Government Area, along Ohatekwe Road, Ishieke, while vandalizing aluminum conductors belonging to EEDC.
“At Umuobia Olokoro, Umuahia, Abia State, Onyebuchi Uchechi was arrested by the villagers for vandalizing aluminum conductors in their community, while the duo of Chiwendu Chukwuemeka and Azubuike Chinemere, were arrested by vigilante group at Onuinyan Village in Bende, Bende Local Government Area of Abia State, for vandalizing aluminum conductors, property of EEDC.”
Ezeh further recounted that a 24-year-old Okechi Chukwuebuka, a native of Aguleru in Anambra East Local Government Area, who resides at Umudim village, Nnewi, was arrested by vigilante group for vandalizing a Transformer located at Ozubulu.
“Ikechukwu Okafor was arrested along with his shuttle bus with registration number TTK165XA, by Ndiogbuonyeoma Ndiuche Arondiuzuogu Okigwe Community Vigilante, for vandalizing their electricity power line; while Okechukwu Okafor and Toochukwu Ike, were arrested by indigenes of Amuzam in Ugbuawka Community, Nkanu East Local Government Area, Enugu State, for vandalizing 5 spans of High Tension wires in their community.
“The negative effects of vandalism do not only affect electricity consumers, but also has its own toll on the distribution company, as huge sum is expended in restoring vandalized facilities while billions of Naira is lost in revenue.
“This year alone, we have spent close to N300 Million in the replacement and restoration of vandalized facilities, so as to ensure our customers are not left in darkness, even as the number of unattended cases are on the rise with daily occurrences.
“We therefore appeal to our customers to be more vigilant and safeguard the electricity installations serving them to avoid some unscrupulous elements keeping them in darkness, especially as we are going into the yuletide.
“Customers are encouraged to see themselves as part owners of the facilities, though they belong to EEDC, but they are there to serve them, and once they are vandalized, they remain out of supply until the issue is addressed,” he added.
While acknowledging and appreciating the efforts of the Community Vigilante groups and other security agencies in curbing the menace of vandalism, Ezeh said the EEDC “is encourage other neighbourhoods/areas to organize and set up a local security outfit that will help safeguard the facilities that serve them among other responsibilities.”