Epileptic power supply threatens hospitality sector in Delta

Key stakeholders within Delta State’s hospitality sector have sounded an alarm over the detrimental impact of inconsistent power supply to their business, particularly in Uvwie, Warri, Sapele, Ughelli, and Udu.

Pinning the blame on alleged power racketeering activities among officials of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) and BEDC Plc, industry insiders have raised concerns about the dire consequences facing hotels and related businesses if urgent steps are not taking to address it.

According to these stakeholders, certain individuals within TCN and BEDC are purportedly engaging in the unauthorized sale and redistribution of electricity, diverting power meant for commercial districts to residential areas based on the highest bidder.

This malpractice, they assert, has resulted in a significant decline in electricity supply to critical business hubs, plunging establishments into a state of operational turmoil.

The situation, Advocate.ng has reached a critical juncture, with the 33-line, designated to cater to businesses such as hotels and industries, experiencing a drastic reduction in supply. “What was once a reliable source of power for up to 18 hours a day has now dwindled to a mere six hours or less, leaving businesses grappling with prolonged periods of blackout.”

It was further gathered that in the past four months, regions encompassing Effurun, Uvwie, Warri, Udu, and Sapele have borne the brunt of this power crisis, with some areas enduring weeks without electricity. As a result, hotels, manufacturing facilities, and various other enterprises have been forced to rely heavily on costly diesel and fuel to sustain operations.

Speaking on behalf of hoteliers, Mr. Austin Wareyai, the Chief Executive Officer and chairman of Lascurt International Hotel in Uvwie, attributed the dire circumstances to rampant electricity racketeering perpetuated by TCN officials.

Wareyai highlighted the precarious financial strain faced by many establishments, emphasizing that a substantial portion of revenues is diverted towards fuel expenses, making it increasingly challenging to meet payroll obligations.

Echoing Wareyai’s sentiments, the Managing Director of Lascurt Hotel underscored the additional burden imposed by exorbitant bills issued by distribution companies, despite the erratic supply of electricity.

In a plea to state authorities, Wareyai urged Governor Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori to intervene decisively by compelling TCN and BEDC Plc to rectify the power crisis plaguing the region.

Drawing attention to successful interventions witnessed in other regions, such as Aba, Abia State, he implored the government to explore alternative power solutions to alleviate the burden on struggling businesses.

“This is an unprecedented challenge for players and investors in the hospitality industry across Effurun, Uvwie, Warri, Udu, and other vital cities like Sapele and Ughelli. The substantial resources we generate are being funneled back into sustaining our operations through diesel procurement,” Wareyai remarked.

“With many hotels teetering on the brink of collapse and workers facing mounting salary arrears, urgent government intervention is imperative to safeguard both livelihoods and the broader security landscape within Delta State.”

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