Ikeja homes, businesses in darkness over faulty transformer
A power transformer blowout has thrown residents of Bamishile Estate and its environs off Allen Avenue, Ikeja into darkness for nearly a month, affecting homes and businesses, including hotels, pharmacies, shops, restaurants, and TheNiche.
The cost alone of running a private power generatorin a long stretch in place of public power supply is prohibitive. It eats deep into business bottom line, the family budget, and threatens lifestyles and livelihoods.
About four officials of Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company (IKEDC) took the transformer away for “repairs” on Wednesday, April 05.
One said IKEDC has no new transformers in stock and it could take up to three weeks to fix the faulty one.
When asked why it took the company three weeks to remove the transformer after the blowout was reported the day it happened, the man said the only person who could answer the question is IKEDC Head of Ikeja Business Unit, John Bosco.
“He tells us what to do, and we carry out his instructions,” he explained.
Another IKEDC official had disclosed previously that it may take two months to repair the faulty transformer.
Bosco did not respond to calls to his telephone line orreply to a text message for his response.
Some residents said he is arrogant and has proven not to be committed to his job.
Another employee of IKEDC who pleaded anonymity said: “Bosco is known not to react proactively to issues such as this. This is not the first time he will react this way, always lethargic.
“And I bet you unless there is a higher instruction he will still feel unconcerned and the situation will continue to drag.”
The residents and business people in the axis have asked IKEDC to repair or replace thetransformerlocated beside Centage Plaza at the gate of Bamishile Estate – and opposite Akin Taylor Close (formerly Agbareh Close)– without further excuses.
“They (IKEDC) have continued to give one excuse or another for the delay but the truth is that the situation does not matter to them.
“They do not seem to care because all the signal from their office shows negligenceand carelessness of the highest order,” lamented a resident, who did not want her name in print.
Businesses in the area have suffered the economic consequences of prolonged power cut. They include highbrow hotels such as The Partner Hotels, The Ritz Hotel, The Lawrence Court, and Ernest Place, which are being deserted by customers.
An employee of The Partner Hotels disclosed that the company has been spending N100,000 daily on diesel to power generators, which adds to N3 million a month.
He said IKEDC recently brought a bill of N500,000 even without supplying electricity.
Operator of Edik Enterprises, Edwin Okafor, who owns a wine shop in the area, urged IKEDC to come to their rescue without further delay.
“The experience is not palatable and a show of shame for Lagosthat prides itself as the centre of excellence,” said Okafor, who lived in Italy for over 18 years before coming back to Nigeria to establish his business.
“We have been living in this blackout for over one month and there seems not to be any cheering response that could give one hope. They came and inspected the transformer and said it has packed up and will be out of use.
“On Wednesday, April 5,they came with their toying truck to take the damaged transformer. When we asked them when to expect another one they said it may be in the next one or two months.
“Why is it that nothing works here? We can’t fix simple things on time, why?”
Okafor said he has spent much money to ensure his business stays afloat, and urged IKEDC to intervene.
“They have prime customers in this area but they don’t care how much people have lost. Whoever is reading meters here does not care, perhaps because they are recouping [their cost] somewhere else.”
Mrs. Balogun, a frozen food seller, added that “the damage done by this power outage has affected my business badly. It is only God that knows how much I spend in running a power generator.”
Supermarkets, barbing saloons, hair dressing saloons, and others are also counting their costs, particularly of having to buy diesel or petrol to run power generators.