July 04, (THEWILL) – The Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (PHED) and Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) have traded blame over destroyed facilities at the TNC premises caused by an early morning windstorm in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital.
The incident, which occurred on Tuesday, during the early morning rain in the state capital, destroyed electric poles, cables and a transformer near the fence of Afaha Ube Transmission station
An eyewitness and resident of the area, Edet Emmanuel, said the windstorm started at about 4am, cutting off the branch of an ornamental tree planted by the fence of the Transmission Company.
Speaking further, Emmanuel said the fallen branch affected low-tension cables and poles planted near the transformer, which caused them to collapse and block the entire road, making it impassable for motorists and pedestrians.
Emmanuel said if the incident had occurred in the daytime, it probably would have killed several persons in the area.
However, speaking to newsmen at the site of the accident along Afaha Ube, off Ikot Ekpene road, a senior official of PHED at IBB Way branch, described the incident as “an Act of God”.
While exchanging words with officials of the affected Transmission station, the PHED Operational Manager exonerated the Company from the disaster, claiming that it was not their duty to trim the tree planted in the Transmission station premises even though it has caused havoc to power lines within the station.
One of the staff of the Transmission station, who pleaded anonymity for fear of victimization by his employers, explained that it was the duty of PHED to clear all cable lines from any obstruction but they refused to do so.
“I have called PHED officials severally to come and cut down this tree to save their cable lines from disaster but they didn’t show up till it caused this damage today
“It is the responsibility of PHED to change weak facilities like poles, clear the power lines and replace other weak installations that may cause danger to their lines but they ignore it,” he stated.
Meanwhile, one of the residents of Afaha Ube, where the Transmission station is built, Mr Bassey Otu, has complained of some anti-social activities of PHED against them. He listed such acts to include outrageous bills, refusal to repair transformers and cables and inability to replace weak poles in the streets.
“Recently, PHED demanded N250,000 from us as electricity bill. They connived with the community to bring incredible bills. PHED can not replace weak cables. In extreme cases, we repair transformers and buy poles while they come to collect bills only,” he lamented.