The Director General, Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Mr. Alex Okoh on Wednesday declared that contrary to insinuations in some quarters there is indeed nothing ongoing in terms of contract or license renewal for any of the Distribution companies (Discos), including BEDC Electricity Plc. Speaking during a Press briefing in Benin, Mr. Okoh appealed to civil society groups, residents and all stakeholders in the BEDC franchise areas to exercise restraint and allow the company perform its functions of electricity distribution without any hindrance, even as he described BEDC as one of the best managed disco. “The government respects contracts and would not do anything to jeopardize the operations of companies that federal Government had willingly entered into agreements with, including the Discos, ” the DG said. “We have followed the development in Benin Disco with keen interest and indeed the attention of the Bureau has been drawn to certain erroneous information over the purported renewal of the licenses issued to the Discos, including BEDC Electricity Plc for the purpose of retail distribution of electricity” the DG remarked.

While clarifying the difference between a performance agreement review and what has been purported as a review of the operating licence of the disco, Mr. Okoh disclosed that the performance agreement stipulates the milestones that the core investors should achieve within a specified period, while the issue of licensing was a different matter and is being handled by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC). He said in relation to the above all discos sold were thus also required to acquire NERC license in addition to purchasing the privatized company and its assets, adding “For BEDC, there is an existing 15years NERC licence broken into 10years plus 5year, with another 10years renewal option at the end of the 15years period i.e. licence of up to 25years”.

Federal Government he hinted, was pursuing a comprehensive power sector recovery programed that will address the challenges of the sector many of which are faced by, but not peculiar to the Benin franchise areas. Government he equally added, has been working with its international partners to reposition the power sector and BEDC in particular has benefited from the services of international institutions like the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) aimed at getting the best electricity services to the people.

In her update across the franchise states, Managing Director/CEO, BEDC Plc, Mrs. Funke Osibodu disclosed that 27 applications were received for the Meter Asset Provider (MAP), adding that after screening, 7 were currently going through the financial bid review process. On the Ondo South network rehabilitation project, she disclosed that the federal government through the National Independent Power Project (NIPP) has joined forces with BEDC for the speedy rehabilitation of the whole network. “According to the new schedule of the joint effort, the first phase is from Ore junction to Okitipupa where 19 communities had been connected to the grid in Ondo South including Ore, Odigbo, Adaja and Liyetu among others. In Ondo North, 34 communities have been connected including Gedegede, Ikun, Eriti, Oke-Agbe, Ikare, Arigidi, Oba-Akoko and Ikaram among others. Speaking on the disruption in power supply in some areas of Benin, Mrs. Osibodu explained that the disruption which affected areas such as Evbuotubu, Oliha, Uwelu, Ikpoba dam, Okhoro, Upper lawani and part of GRA, noted that the company has put in place a contingency plan to connect customers in the affected areas to existing functional feeders as a temporary measure pending when the faulty power transformer will either be repaired or replaced.