PHEDC in Calabar has cut the power supply of the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital over an alleged N36 million power bill.
Investigation into the issue on Tuesday, September 20, revealed that the list of patients to undergo surgeries have continued to increase while critical medical equipment has broken down following the development.
The hospital is currently struggling to attend to several patients expected to undergo surgery as the limited power supply is channelled to the critical units of the hospital from its generators.
Almost all the offices in the administration building, as well as some of the wards, have been in darkness due the cutting-off of power supply on Friday, September 16, following the revelation of the controversial accumulated N36 million estimated bill from PHEDC.
Speaking on the issues the hospital is currently facing, Chief Medical Director of UCTH, Dr Thomas Agan, said that the action of PHEDC has crippled most of the activities in the health institution.
He placed the blame on the Calabar office of PHEDC for the disconnection of power supply at a bad time with over six patients on queue for surgeries.
Soliciting with the National Assembly to push the Federal government to take over the management of electricity bills, Agan also called on distribution companies to be cautious when dealing with health institutions as situations like these could lead to unnecessary loss of lives.
“As at last Friday, the PHEDC business manager said our indebtedness stood at N36m. He threatened that if we did not defray it, they won’t re-connect us.
“One thing I want to let the public know is that a hospital is not a profit-making venture. All we do is service delivery and if you disconnect us, you have crippled the whole system.
“When the business manager led a team to disconnect us, we had six patients on the operating table. No matter how you want to make money, you do it with some degree of human face.
“I don’t know how they arrived at the estimated bill that has accumulated over time. Could it be that they just walked into the hospital premises to see the size before coming up with such a bogus amount as a bill.
“As I speak, because of this incessant power cut, most of our equipment have broken down. The radiology equipment and several other sensitive facilities have broken down.
“My appeal now is that either the Federal Government take over the servicing of power to the hospitals or bills coming in from the electricity company go directly to the Federal Government for settlement,” he said.
Attempts to reach the Business Manager of PHEDC, Calabar, Mr. George Chinwo, have been futile while the Public Relations Officer, Meg Donkemezuo, claimed to be unaware of the situation.