By Valentine Amanze
The Calabar Export Processing Zone (EPZ) has been thrown into darkness following the inability of the management to offset N71,965,299 bill owed to Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution (PHED) Plc, the DISCO supplying energy to the EPZ community.
Prior to the disconnection, it was gathered that a team from PHED had made efforts on the issue to the management of the EPZ, which felt unconcerned.
Sources from EPZ confirmed that the blackout, stressing that the situation was affecting economic activities in the area.
An official, who pleaded anonymity, said, “We gathered that trouble began when the EPZ management started under paying for electricity consumption on the pretense that it doubted the integrity of the PHED metering.
It was at this point that Nigerian Electricity Management Services Agency (NEMSA) was invited to check the accuracy of the metering, and following NEMSA’s report, a reconciliation was done and a demand was made on the EPZ for the outstanding payments.
“Despite the report confirming the accuracy of the PHED meter reading and the reconciliation achieved by NEMSA, the EPZ has refused to pay the outstanding arrears of N71,965,299 owed PHED.
“Consequently, power supply to the complex was disconnected, leaving the entire EPZ community in darkness.”
He however attributed EPZ inability to offset the bill to mismanagement of funds and alleged internal fraud rocking the organisation.
Besides, stakeholders in the complex have begun agitating; describing the situation as worrisome and very disturbing.
Some who spoke to our correspondent on anonymously berated the management of the EPZ for subjecting them to such harrowing experience.
They wondered how they could remain in business and production, let alone make profit when a major ingredient of production was lacking.
They therefore called on the management of the EPZ to urgently resolve issues with PHED by paying the power supply company that has over the year made life and business good for them, noting that they are confident once the issues are resolved, power will be restored.