Stop erecting billboards under powerlines, IBEDC appeals to billboard owners to partner OYSAA on strict compliance to the directive

The Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC), has appealed to billboard owners and outdoor advertising agencies in Oyo State to always respect the right of way for powerlines to prevent an emergency in the case of electrocution.

The power company also expressed its willingness to partner with the Oyo State Signage and Advertising Agency (OYSAA), among other stakeholders to stop the continuous installation of billboards under power lines.

While speaking during a courtesy call on the management staff of OYSAA on Tuesday, the Chief Operating Officer of IBEDC, Mr John Ayodele said the electricity distribution company is making the call as a proactive step to prevent possibilities of incidence, while noticing the indiscriminate citing of billboards under powerlines.

He added the visit and the call is in commemoration of the 2021 World Day For Safety and Health at Work.

Ayodele who was represented by the Head, Safety and Environment, Mr Abiodun Disu while enumerating the usages of electricity as well as the dangers of misuse, expressed optimism that a synergy between the company and the agency will help tackle the issue before it turns a menace across the state.

Ayodele said: “We are looking at partnering with OYSAA to see how we can help tackle the menace of indiscriminate erection of billboards under power lines. When you move around town, you will see many potential dangers. We have observed that many billboards are located around the right of way of powerlines.

“We have discovered that too many of the billboards are potential dangers because of locations, therefore we came up with the idea of meeting the leadership of this agency.

“Although, we have not recorded any incident or happenings we are aware that some billboards made of metal can be a potential danger when they are stationed under powerlines. We have decided to be proactive by being responsible for resolving the problem and preventing possible danger.

“For us we want to ensure that the safety of our consumers is not compromised in our business endeavours. We want to find a way of partnering with you on how to ensure that billboards are not installed under powerlines to prevent possible danger.”

Corroborating the remarks, a top staff of the IBEDC, Mrs Mariam Arowolo said the aim of the visitation is “to ask for your cooperation in terms of location of billboards. We have heard of some incidents in times past when the people while trying to install the billboard mistakenly used metal to touch energised powerlines.

“Regulating this practice can also generate more IGR for the state government as defaulters can be sanctioned. Those that are already under the powerlines can be given a certain period to remove or relocate their billboards under the powerline so that we can zero out any incident of power lines while trying to install or erect billboards.

“We want them through adequate sensitization for the right of way for high tension powerlines which are put at 5.5metres on each side of the road (for high tension) and 2.75 on both sides of the road for (low tension powerlines).

Responding, the Director-General, OYSAA, Mr Temilola Adibi appreciated IBEDC for placing a premium on safety noting that many billboards erected and install on the powerline right of way are against the agreement signed by the agency with the operators.

He said the agency is also aware of many anomalies but taking time to sensitise and engage the perpetrators instead of using force as a means of enforcement as a last resort.

He added that Governor Seyi Makinde is more interested in positive change through dialogue and engagement than the outright use of force saying “We are aware of some anomalies in the pattern of operation of practitioners. This is hinged on the way the job was done in time past. We have laid down some procedures which are not being followed to the letter.

“We have practitioners who erect billboards indiscriminately. We are ready to synergise to correct any anomalies. In this synergy, we expect IBEDC to notify OYSAA in areas of infractions on powerlines so that we can take it up from there.

“We just have to partner because it’s not what either IBEDC or OYSAA can do alone. The government has made up its mind to clamp down on defaulters. The billboards we have outside, about 60 per cent are illegally owned and we are ready to clamp down on them.

Governor Seyi Makinde is not interested in the use of force that is why we are still engaging them to correct the anomalies. This is important, especially in this rainy season. We are not seriously after what we have to get for now but to sensitise the people. Illegalities are against the approvals given to the practitioners and it is giving us a headache.

“I will give you the assurance of OYSAA that we are ready to do anything in the line of operational safety of our practitioners. We will organize a sensitization stakeholders forum between IBEDC, OYSAA and practitioners.”

Culled from Vanguard