The Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company has revealed that five power towers were damaged by suspected vandals at the Elelenwo transmission substation in Obio/Apkor Local Government Area, plunging several communities in Rivers State into darkness.

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The Acting Head, Corporate Communications, PHED, Ngozi Koroye, who disclosed this to newsmen in Port Harcourt, said the installation belongs to the Transmission Company of Nigeria.

Koroye explained that the action of the hoodlums caused extensive damage to the facility, noting that the company felt the pains of residents in the affected areas who had been in darkness for over one month.

“The outage though regrettable is as a result of extensive damage caused by the activities of electricity vandals to towers 51, 52, 53, 54 and 55 – five towers situated at Elelenwo transmission substation and belonging to the Transmission Company of Nigeria,” she stated.

On the areas affected, Koroye said, “We are talking about Elelenwo, Oyigbo, Bori, Igbo-Etche, Onne and Timber. It was purely an act of vandalism, and throughout the Yuletide (in 2020), TCN has been working tirelessly in order to fix it.

“As we speak now, one (tower) has been repaired. We still have four to go. The damage was extensive and one thing you know is that it takes time to fix these things and it takes money. It is capital intensive. And while we are doing all these, everybody is in darkness.”

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The PHED spokesman however assured residents of the areas that efforts were on to ensure that the issue was resolved and supply restored as soon as possible.

She called for partnership from members of the public to assist the distribution company nip crime in the bud by reporting vandals or unauthorised persons found tampering with power installations in their neighbourhood.

On the alleged hike in electricity tariff, she said tariff had not been increased by the government, noting that it was the exclusive preserve of the Nigeria Electricity Regulator Commission to announce any increase.

She added, “The power industry is as highly regulated as the banking industry. There is no Disco that can just wake up and fix tariff arbitrarily. This is done by NERC.

“So, when it comes to tariff increase or otherwise, it is purely a preserve of NERC and there is no Disco that can do that or you will be penalised.”

She added that except the company received a directive from NERC, it could not implement any form of increase.