Electricity consumers in Ezema/Ubulenu and Osita-Osili communities of Uke in Idemili North Council of Anambra State have dragged the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC) before the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) over what they termed “strange and unnecessary outrageous estimated bills,” which they alleged were outside method of estimated and prepaid billings approved by the Commission.
The residents, made up of mainly of retired and old rural people, in their cry to NERC, demanded full investigation into what they alleged to be a large scale estimated billing fraud and irregularities brought on their area by EEDC.
The visibly bitter residents accused the EEDC of over-billing them, disconnecting their supply and throwing them into darkness since June this year, when they drew the attention of the Distribution Company (DisCo) to the irregular geometric hike in their monthly bills.
The people of the communities and other surrounding areas, led by Chief Mmaduabuchi Anekwe and Chief Okechukwu Anakwuo, had in a letter, through their lawyer, C. H. Asiegbu Esq, dated Oct 13 called on NERC to intervene, since several correspondences with EEDC did not yield any positive outcome, expressing readiness to approach a court of competent jurisdiction over the matter if they were not attended to or satisfied to press home their case.
The aggrieved consumers tendered series of correspondences between them and EEDC, in which they requested to be furnished with a copy of their statement of account and metering of each consumer and premises to enable them take proper personal care and responsibility for their electricity consumption, all of which were ignored.
They had frowned at the inexplicable geometric jump in what EEDC was giving them as monthly bill from N143, 996 to N1, 229, 128 and above for electricity supply of less than six hours per daily.
Uke, Ideani and Amenyi-Awka residents also reported similar practice of estimated billing, instead of installation of pre-paid meters, saying they were over-rated as industrial users.
In his reaction, a senior manager of EEDC, Mr. Jeffry Nwainokpor, blamed the communities “for not managing their energy consumption well, advising them to replace all incandescent bulbs with energy saving bulbs and to use light only at nights when they are needed.
He said that EEDC has not increased tariff, but that “it was inconceivable for a transformer with 200 users to be paying N143, 976 denying that the installation of individual meters was tied to the completion of any form.
But contrary to his submission, the villagers presented a form, tagged ‘Community Empowerment Form,’ where it was clearly stated that its completion was a pre-condition for the installation of meters, but they opted out until its full purpose was explained to them, a development they strongly believed angered the EEDC officer, who then imposed heavy bill on them as punishment.
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