Against the backdrop of the dwindling low power generation to the national grid and the debts owned electricity distribution companies, Benin Electricity Distribution Plc (BEDC) and the 32 Artillery Brigade of the Nigerian army, Owena Cantonment, in Akure, Ondo State has agreed on a regimental load shedding and energy saving programme to reduce cost of electricity and ensure efficient energy allocation.
The agreement, according to a statement signed by BEDC Chief Corporate Services Officer, Mrs Kunbi Labiyi, was reached on Monday by Brigadier General Charles Ofoche, Commander of the 32 Artillery Brigade and Chief State Head, Ondo/Ekiti States for BEDC, Ernest Edgar.
It will be recalled that in recent times, generation has dropped to 1,500 megawatts nationwide, making it difficult for BEDC to increase supply to operational areas given its allocation of nine (9) per cent, even as the drop in power generation has affected BEDC’s ability to circulate power to customers despite its installed capacity.
According to the terms of the agreement, there will be relocation and improvement of electricity network for efficient power supply; installation of three feeder pillars with breakers; training of officers and men of the brigade on operation and management of equipment installed in the cantonment.
With this agreement signing, the cantonment would be able to reduce and efficiently manage power consumption from 160,000KW to a monthly minimum of 50,000KW, with a view to save cost for the Nigerian Army from a monthly average bill of N6 million expended on electricity bills to just N2.5 million.
Speaking during the Distribution Power Commissioning ceremony, Brigadier General Ofoche said the programme was borne out of the need to efficiently manage resources in the Barrack which is in sync with the Chief of Army Staff’s vision of having a Professionally Responsive Army in the discharge of its constitutional duties.
He also said that this was a good example of Civilian-Military Relationship, adding that the “Army would honour and adhere to the regimental load shedding until when the power situation improves and the authorities are able to reasonably defat the electricity bills.
He emphasised that the army was a functional one and that power supply was critical to the successful operations of various units, saying that proper and timely allocation of electricity was paramount for an efficient Army.
In his own remarks, BEDC’s Chief State Head, Mr Ernest Edgar lauded the commander for his visionary leadership on the mutually beneficial programme that “will reduce Army’s cost of electricity, save energy for other customers in Akure and also reduce BEDC’s AT&C losses due to huge unpaid debts of the cantonment”.
Edgar said the programme was first of its kind in the country and urged other military agencies ministries, departments and agencies to emulate such partnership with distribution companies (Discos).