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Reps to probe alleged 14-yr power outage in Ondo

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The House of Representatives has resolved to investigate an alleged 14-year power outage in some communities in Ondo State by the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC).

This followed the adoption of a motion by Odimayo John (APC-Ondo) at plenary on Wednesday.

John, in the motion, alleged that communities in Irele Local Government Areas (LGAs) such as Ode¬lrele, OdeAjaja, Akotogbo, lyesa, Ujusun, Ormi, Aturase, and Udogun had been without electricity supply for 14 years.

He said that other communities affected included lgbotako, llutitun, lkoya, Ayeka, lgbodigu, lrinje, lgundan, ldobilayo and big road area of Okitipupa, and most communities in Ese¬Edo and llaje LGA.

He added that the situation had brought untold hardship to residents of the area as all Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) had folded up.

This, he said, was due to lack of electricity coupled with the high cost of providing alternative power supply using generating sets.

He said the problem had created the impression that the only means of power supply was either from local lamps, touches, candles and generators.

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He said all major industries situated in the areas had either relocated to other areas that were conducive to their operations.

He said that those who tried to manage the situation such as the Oluwa glass Industry, Okitipupa Oil Palm Mill and NTA Channel 26, among others, had all collapsed.

He said this had led to massive loss of jobs for the locals, as it had adversely affected foreign exchange earnings by the Okitipupa oil mill, which was a major producer and exporter of palm oil and its allied products in the area.

He said the Ondo State University of Science and Technology Okitipupa, which was a major hub for private businesses in the town, was also caught in the web of protracted darkness. He said this was costing the institution so much of its resources to provide power for operations.

Adopting the motion, the House mandated the committee on power to summon the management of the BEDC to offer explanation on the problem.

The House also summoned the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) to explain why Irele, Okitipupa, Ese Odo and Ilaje LGA were disconnected from the national grid.

The House also directed that communities disconnected should be reconnected, while the committee should liaise with the National Electricity Regulatory Commission on the quick reconnection of the affected LGA.

The committee is to report back in eight weeks for further legislative action.