Beneficiaries of the stand-alone solar power in Upare and Igbobini communities in the Ilaje Local Government Area of Ondo State are to pay N200 to N500 monthly billing per household.
The decision was reached at stakeholders’ meetings held in each of the communities with officials of the Office of Public Utilities (OPU) and the power service provider, RR Reynolds.
Acting Secretary of OPU Mrs Abike Bayo-Ilawole told reporters after the meetings that it was agreed that, starting from August, each beneficiary household would pay between N200 and N500 per month, depending on the capacity of the installation in the home. She said the communities had been using the solar power free of charge, for months as a palliative measure from the state government.
Bayo-Ilawole recalled that for years, the communities did not get power supply from the national grid before the solar power intervention.
She disclosed that a five-man Cluster Off-take Unit (COU) committee was constituted in both communities to liaise with the residents over complaints on installations and payment of bills.
The acting Secretary added that they would meet with the service provider to fix all technical problems complained of by the users.
Meanwhile, some of the beneficiaries of the solar power at Ebute Upare have complained that rodents have eaten up some cables, preventing them from getting light.
A handful of them also narrated how the power got exhausted, particularly when it rained for longer period of the day.
The traditional ruler of Ebute Upare, Oba Segun Akinyomi, who was represented by High Chief Ikuejamoye John, appreciated the state governor, Rotimi Akeredolu for the power intervention in his community.
Oba Akinyomi, who confirmed that the community had not enjoyed electricity supply for years, urged Reynolds to improve on the solar facilities for all residenst to assess.
Speaking in the same vein, Oba Oyedele Raphael, the Olu of Igbobini, alleged that the electricity distribution company covering their area had demanded over N200 million from the community and others to reconnect them to national grid.
Oba Oyedele said he had to shut down his frozen water business when there was no electricity supply to run it.
He explained that a lot of business ventures had to close down in the communities because it was not viable to run them on power generating sets.
The monarch praised the state governor for the palliative measures which he said had prevented them from living in darkness.
He appealed to the service provider to upgrade the capacity of the standalone solar power to allow the people use different electrical appliances for both business and social activities.
Oba Oyedele, who said that about 10 per cent of the 1550 houses in the community were beneficiaries the solar power, called for supply of more installations.
He assured that the communities would ensure that the facilities were protected from vandals.
Source: The Nation