22 July 2013, Damaturu — Residents of Damaturu and environs in Yobe State have rejected electricity bills issued to them by the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, over what they described as lack of power supply for ten consecutive days.
But the state PHCN Business Manager, Alhaji Abba A Jakada, has expressed concern over the situation, stressing that the power outage was as a result of a natural disaster and system collapse at the national level, adding, “Besides, the bill is for the previous month not for this month”.
The PHCN manager who also complained that rains destroyed some of their poles, said if people do not pay their bills, “how do they expect us to maintain our services”.
Residents who refused to collect the bills described the situation as unacceptable, espe-cially when according to them, the Federal Government announced an improvement in power supply across the country.
“What we are witnessing here in Yobe is total neglect by the PHCN and by extension the Federal Government,” Malam Ibrahim Suleiman, a resident said.
“Damaturu and Nguru were without power supply for over ten days, and even when power is supplied, the voltage is grossly inadequate,” he added.
Malam Muhammad Janar, a resident of Brabra Housing Estate, Damaturu, said it will be unfair for the company to give them bills for something they did not consume.
“For most of us with prepaid meters, whether we consume electricity or not, the service charges remain fixed. They have now increased the service fees to N750 against N500. For how long will the PHCN continue to exploit us,” he said.
Another resident, Malam Lawan, comp-lained that the absence of electricity in Dam-aturu has made life unbearable, especially with the on-going fasting.
“Because people need electricity for refri-geration of water, fruits, meat, fish and a lot more.
We wrote letters to security operatives in the state seeking permission to take to the streets for peaceful demonstration to express our grievances,” he added.
The Yobe House of Assembly recently called on the PHCN to restore electricity supply in Damaturu and Yobe. The call followed a motion sponsored by Nasiru Lawan, representing Damaturu central.
– Hamisu Kabir Matazu, Daily Trust