Hoteliers, residents, and other business owners in Warri, Effurun, and their environs have lamented the continued power outage in the commercial nerve centres of Delta State, saying that their businesses are fast crumbling due to the total blackout.
Warri, Effurun, Osubi, Otokutu and their environs have been in total darkness for over seven days without explanation from the management of BEDC Electricity Plc on the development.
This is even as they have appealed to the Delta State government and the management of BEDC Electricity Plc to intervene by restoring power supply to the areas.
Some business owners, especially hoteliers who spoke on the development with journalists on Wednesday bemoaned the power outage, stressing that businesses are folding up over the development.
They posited that they were losing customers over their inability to purchase the diesel at the current price of N1,200 per litre to provide power for their private businesses and offices.
Speaking on the power outage, Efemena Goodluck, a hotel manager in Osubi, the hometown of Governor Sheriff Oborevwori, lamented that his hotel spends an average of N1,150million daily to purchase diesel to provide electricity for their customers.
Efemena noted that hotel owners can no longer continue with such spending when they are yet to pay workers their October salaries.
He specifically expressed fears that if BEDC does not immediately restore power supply to the affected areas, hotels and other business owners might be forced to lay off staff due to the high cost of keeping their business afloat.
Reacting to the blackout, one of the biggest hotel owners in Delta State and the Managing Director, Lascurt Hotel, Ekpan in Uvwie, Mr Austin Wareyai, particularly called on Governor Oborevwori to intervene in the power issue in the area line with his administration’s promise to create jobs and attract investors back to the twin-cities of Warri and Effurun.
Wareyai, who operates the only underground club in the state, said, “If we love this city we need to speak up. The entire Warri, Uvwie, Osubi and their environs have been totally cutoff from the national electricity grid for the past one week.
“A closed mouth is a closed destiny. All influencers and media practitioners from Warri and Uvwie should speak up. Many businesses may likely shutdown and put our youths back to the labour market if nothing is done. BEDC is doing nothing about the blackout.”
In a similar vein, a welder, Mr. Peter Bala, told newsmen that he had not worked for over seven days since the area was thrown into total blackout. He added that the situation was compounding the economic woes of the people.
Also speaking, a hotel owner in Warri who pleaded anonymity, explained that epileptic power supply in the city was killing businesses, calling on government at all levels to intervene in the situation in Warri and Uvwie in the interest of sustaining businesses.
The hotelier observed that with the current price of diesel and cost of running hospitality centres due to the prevailing economic situation in the country, members of their union were thinking of shutting down operations.
“I am a hotelier and owner of other businesses in Warri and Uvwie. Since the hike in prices of diesel and fuel, we have been running at a loss. What are you going to gain when you spend N1,200m buying diesel daily. Without power supply, no business can operate. The situation is worse off with the total blackout in the last seven days. We are in a dilemma.
“Many of our colleagues have been thinking of shutting down operations temporarily because we can’t continue to sustain the high cost of running these hotels. By the time we shut down thousands of workers will become unemployed and you can imagine the security implication.
“We are appealing to President Bola Tinubu to pay serious attention to power generation and supply. It’s very key to driving business and investment. Also, Governor Sheriff Oborevwori should intervene in the power situation in Delta State. Businesses in Delta State particularly Effurun, Warri, Udu and their surroundings,” he stated.
When contacted on Wednesday, the Warri Regional Public Affairs Manager of BEDC Electricity Company, Mr. Curtis Nwadei, regretted the power outage in the areas, explaining that the fault that caused the blackout is from Transmission Company of Nigerian (TCN).
Nwadei, however, disclosed that its officials were working with engineers from TCN to restore power supply to the affected areas in the state.
“As we speak, we are working hard to restore light to the affected areas in the state. The fault is with TCN, and not BEDC. We have restored one of the two faulty transmission transformers and we are currently testing them for power to be supplied. We regret the blackout which our customers have been experiencing”, he added.