Management of UCH denies owing IBEDC N495 million

The management of the University College Hospital (UCH) in Ibadan, Oyo State, disputed yesterday that it had an accumulated power supply bill of N495 million over the last three years.

It stated that the hospital’s overdue power supply bill was N241 million, and that the payment plan to cover the outstanding and current bills was maintained until the tariff was arbitrarily increased.

Funmi Adetuyibi, the hospital’s Public Relations Officer, stated that, while the hospital had outstanding bills to settle with the Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC), “the management has left no stone unturned in its approach to ensuring that patients have access to adequate medical care at all times.”

On the current disconnection of power supply to UCH, the management said it has had several meetings with the IBEDC management, saying: “A payment plan on how to offset the backlog of the outstanding debt had been forwarded to both the consultant of IBEDC and the Regional Head of IBEDC. This payment plan was rejected by IBEDC. They insisted on an immediate payment of N250 million.

“This management’s catchphrase is ‘patient comfort and staff welfare.’ The disconnection of power supply has become a challenge to water supply to the hospital and other critical operational services.

“To put on record, the hospital has never spent N160 million on diesel on a monthly basis. We spend an average of N17 million monthly on diesel, depending on power supply from IBEDC.

“Also, we have not experienced 24 hours of power supply in the hospital. The Internal Audit Department of the hospital has a daily record of the electricity supplied to the hospital by IBEDC.

“The narrative of patients’ relations buying sachet water does not arise even though the hospital currently does not have optimal water supply due to power outage. We rely on the generators to pump water.

“The hospital has 45 generators. Some are due for servicing while some are due for replacement. The management has also made available solar inverter in some areas.

“The contention we have with IBEDC is the outstanding bill. This year, we have received a bill of N147 million. We paid N50 million in January, N55 million in February and N45 million in March, totalling N150 million.”

The management, which said it had UCH on many occasions appealed to the IBEDC not to charge it on commercial rates as it renders social services, pleaded with well-meaning individuals, corporate organisations, and the international community at large to come to the aid of the hospital, saying: “UCH is a national heritage, our collective legacy.”