By Alaba-Olusola Oke
Aboto – Residents of Aboto community in Ilaje Local Government Area of Ondo State have sealed an agreement with R.R. Reynolds, an Independent Power Provider (IPP) on billing terms and prompt payment.
The agreement was reached with the independent power plant during a town hall meeting in Aboto on Thursday.
Mr Tunji Ariyomo, the Special Adviser to Gov. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu on Public Utilities, who represented the state government, said that every house in the community had been provided with stand-alone solar power by the company.
He said this was in agreement with the state government last year under the Ondo State Government Fast Power programme.
According to him,the Fast Power programme is under Phase One of the electricity improvement scheme.
He added that the beneficiaries of the power project had not been charged for the service, saying that would begin from July.
“However, the people and the power service provider have now agreed on a reasonable rate.
“While the people called for scaling up of the power supply to avail them opportunity to use additional powerful electronic appliances, the provider requested for consistent payment by customers to offset some of its costs.
“The investors wanted assurance from the people that they would pay for the service, ahead of when the company would scale up power supply.
“The power company had initially offered N1,000 per month per household which was beaten down by the community.
“The beneficiaries of the project would be expected to start paying bills from July,”he stated.
Meanwhile, the traditional ruler of the community and Alaboto of Aboto, Oba Oyetayo Ofo-Aye, has assured the state government and the power company of the readiness to pay at least N500 per month per household.
The traditional ruler appealed to Ariyomo to prevail on the power provider to quicken the process of upgrading the capacity of the facilities so that the beneficiaries could power their devices such as television sets and refrigerators.
Two of the beneficiaries,Mr James Atimise and Mrs Taiwo Akinte, commended the Akeredolu-led administration for ending 12 years of total darkness in the community.
They expressed joy that security and social life had improved in the community, particularly night life, saying that their children could no longer have excuse for not studying.
Having agreed to the billing rate, a committee for the Cluster Offtake Unit (COU) was immediately constituted and members were chosen by the people.
The five-man committee would be liaising with the people of the community on payment of bills and challenges faced by the customers.
Members of the committee are Mr Memokan Emmanuel (Chairman), Mrs Akinte Taiwo(Secretary), Mr Omotehinse Adeyemi, Mr Adeji Ogooluwa and Mr Temuhi Kehinde.
Among dignitaries present at the meeting were Mr Oreoluwz Fadoju, Acting General Manager, Ondo State Electricity Board, Mrs Abike Bayo-Ilawole, Acting Secretary, Office of Public Utilities and Primate S.O. Ayodele.