New local power distribution centres colloquially called 'Private NPEA' are emerging in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, to solve the persistent power outage and blackout in most areas in the state.

NEPA, in full the National Electric Power Authority (NEPA), is the defunct organisation that governed the use of electricity in Nigeria.

Investigations showed that those operating the local power distribution centres are private business owners who own lister diesel power generating sets and are willing to share with residents at a cost depending on your needs.

Some residents of Azikoro Village, Ekeki and Azikoro road, who spoke with newsmen, said although the owners of the local power distribution companies did not start with the intention of distributing power "they were prevailed upon to help their neighbours".

SaharaReporters gathered that most residents have started patronising the local operators due to the spate of violent crimes arising from the abysmal failure of the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (PHED) to supply power to homes.

For example, areas such as Imgbi Road, Ekeki, Azikoro Road and other parts of the state have been in total darkness for five days without proper explanation from PHED.

Others have even taken to town criers to urge residents not to pay any bill brought to them by the power distribution company. They threatened to deal with any PHED official who approaches their streets.

Another factor responsible for the patronage of local power distribution outfits is the illegal increase in pump price of fuel and man-made scarcity created by petroleum marketers in the state. A litre of fuel in the Bayelsa capital now is N160 and it is not easily available.

The patronage of these local power distribution companies is rising by the day, with small business operators and private resident owners struggling to be connected.

It was gathered that while some local distribution centres take between N2,000 to N6,000 per week for private and commercial use, others have taken advantage of inflating cost of issuance of forms, weekly payment and connection fee to N20,000.

A man, who identified himself as James, told SaharaReporters that he patronises the local distribution company known as 'private NEPA' in his area due to the convenience.

"They distribute power at your convenience," he said. "If you operate a business, they connect you for a fee between 8am to 6pm. If it is private, you can negotiate for 7pm to 6am. Itsaves you stress."

Attempts to get one of the operators close to Ekeki Park failed, as everyone refused to comment. But one of his agents told SaharaFReporters that the distribution of power to neighbours is not a crime.

"We're only helping our neighbours," he said.

"And fees taken are just for running cost of diesel and maintenance. If the federal and state governments have failed to supply power and Bayelsa is in perpetual darkness, what do we do? In some areas, people are gathering money to buy diesel generator to power houses on their street. They don't even bother to pay light bill and they asked Power Holding to disconnect them."

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