The Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC), one of the power generation companies (known as GenCos) in Nigeria, has said that acts of vandalism have cost the company a loss of over 50 million naira. These acts manifest in the form of stolen cables, damaged transformers, and other network infrastructure. The Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the company, Mr. John Ayodele, revealed in a statement to newsmen on Monday, July 4th 2022, that these activities of vandals are affecting the distribution of power to customers.
IBEDC has recently reported cases of stolen cables, damaged transformers, and issues with their network infrastructure. Ayodele, decried the spate of vandalism within its network. “On June 29, during the night, unknown civilians and armed men clad in Police and Civil Defense uniforms carted away IBEDC 33kv underground cables at Mokola Roundabout in Ibadan, Oyo State. These stolen cables feed Agodi Injection Substation, where Government House, the State Secretariat, Agodi and majority of Bodija area and thousands of other urban customers are serviced. This means the economic power and livelihood of these people have been grossly disrupted, as we are incapacitated by the stolen cables to meet the supply demand,” he said.
The national grid has collapsed multiple times in 2022.
This recent statement of IBEDC’s COO is coming just a few weeks after the national grid has collapsed a number of times this year. In the year 2021 alone, the national grid had collapsed not less than 15 times and about 130 times since the electricity sector was privatized in 2013. So, in addition to the number of shutdowns that the country has witnessed, the IBEDC is decrying the effect of vandalism. Earlier this year, the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) had confirmed that multiple towers were vandalized.
These acts contributed to the national power outage. In one of these outages, power generation dropped drastically to 9W. As expected, Nigerians are divided on what the government should do to solve this problem especially that of vandalism. Some have pushed for the decentralization of the system, while others who agree to this have opined that the federal government should set up adequate security measures and monitoring tools along transmission lines to tackle the problem.
Southwestern tertiary institutions opted out of GenCos.
Earlier this year 2022, the trio of the Federal University, Oye Ekiti (FUOYE), the Ekiti State University (EKSU), and the Federal Polytechnic, Ado Ekiti, decided to explore alternative power sources instead of relying on the unreliable national grid. These tertiary institutions expressed their frustrations over the unstable power supply as well as the exorbitant power bill served by the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC). The institutions noted that as the power supply continued to nosedive, the bills from the GenCos continued to skyrocket.
Another Southwestern institution out-rightly opted out of the BEDC network. Afe Babalola University (ABUAD) proactively opted out of the GenCos network after commissioning 2.5 MW of its 5 MW independent power plant. The spokesperson of the university cited the high cost of power from the distribution company as a viable reason to unsubscribe from their power supply. The epileptic power supply situation in the country also be affected and is still affecting small-scale firms such as factories, laundry services, sawmills, and others.
Ayodele asks residents and customers of IBEDC to protect installations.
In his statement, Mr. Ayodele confirmed that the incident on June 29th was one of the various instances of the wicked activities of vandals within their network. For this cause, he appealed to IBEDC customers to guard any electrical installation in their environment to prevent vandalism and being plunged into unexpected blackout. Mr. Ayodele said that IBEDC could not afford to repair or replace vandalized installations at the moment. “We implore all residents and customers to report any act suspected to be vandalism to the nearest police station, Civil Defense Corps, and the Department of State Services,” he said.