BEDC Electricity Plc (BEDC) has urged relevant state ministries for Lands, Surveys, Environment and Public Utilities to identify, mark and demolish illegal structures/shops/buildings that violate the Right of Way (RoW) of power lines in public interest.
BEDC Safety Manager, Mr. Gilbert Nweke, made this known recently in Benin, Edo State while presenting a paper on: “Violation of Right of Way of Power Lines and Vandalism of Power Infrastructure” at the World Environment Day organised by Independent Radio and Television (ITV), Benin, in partnership with Frontline Energy and Environmental Consultancy Services (FEECS).
The company also affirmed its readiness to partner with the four state governments under its franchise, namely: Delta, Edo, Ekiti and Ondo, and appealed to them to ensure that all relevant laws in respect of the RoW of paower lines are activated by their law enforcement agents to tackle the menace.
“In line with NEMSA directive, customers that violate the right of way of power lines can be disconnected while distribution companies should not extend electricity supply to prospective customers whose buildings/structures/businesses violate the right of way of power lines,” Nweke said.
According to him, issuing letters of notifications of violation of RoW of power lines to identified defaulters and following up with the disconnection of supply would serve as a deterrent to others. He added that deployment of social media platforms, use of print and electronic media to create widespread public safety awareness against trading or building illegal structures under power lines could also be helpful.
He listed challenges confronting BEDC on the RoW of power lines to include illegal connections and reconnections, vandalism of power infrastructure, meter by-pass/energy theft, illegal activities of roadside electricians on the network and hanging of wires.
Some of the actions taken by BEDC according to Nweke to address RoW issues include mounting signages to warn people and advertising agents to desist from building/trading under power lines, disconnection of customers who violate the RoW of power lines in line with the Nigeria Electricity Management Services (NEMSA) directive and partnering with state governments of Delta, Edo, Ekiti and Ondo on identifying and demolishing of illegal structures under power lines.
At the event, BEDC was honoured with a Merit Award of Excellence for its valuable contribution to environmental safety by the organisers.