Eectricity consumers condemn irregularities in pre-paid meter billing

07 May 2015, Lagos – Some electricity consumers in Lagos on Thursday condemned what they called irregularities in the receipts issued to owners of pre-paid meters by Ikeja Electric (IE). The consumers said the receipts issued to them after recharging their meter card as fraudulent and theft of customers’ identity, rights and privileges. Investigations conducted by a Correspondent revealed that the most affected consumers are from Gowon and Shagari Estates, Egbeda and Akowonjo areas of Lagos.

Some of the consumers told newsmen that the prepaid meter receipts issued to them in unknown names and addresses had cast aspersion on their integrity and personality. They also said that current receipts which did not carry their identity and addresses had made it impossible for them to use such receipts in business and government transactions.

Mr Kunle Ishola, a resident of Gowon Estate, Egbeda, said he was alarmed to notice after recharging at Ponle Business Unit of IE near Gowon Estate, that receipt contained another consumer’s name and address.

Ishola said that IE officials were adamant on providing convincing information concerning such a development but only appealed to him to come back later. “But I was disappointed again this month when I went for payment, the same name and address was written in my payment receipt. “The cashier just told me that there was nothing he could do about it,’’ he said.

Mr Godwin Okeke, a businessman and resident of Shagari Estate in Lagos, said the issuance of receipt with wrong names had impacted negatively on his business. “I wanted to open a new bank account and I approached the bank of my choice with the receipt of my electricity bill as demanded. “But I was taken aback when the cashier told me that the bill I brought was not mine. “I could not believe my eyes too, I have not been checking the receipt all these while.

“After complaining at the office, they could not change the receipt, that’s how I failed to open the account,’’ he said. Also speaking, Mr Ibrahim Salawu, a landlord at Akowonjo accused IE of using the new payment method to defraud electricity consumers and even the government. “When you make a transaction and your name and address did not appear on the receipt, how will they be able to carry out proper auditing at the end of the year? “If the error continues, I may be forced to sue the company because what they are doing is wrong,’’ he said.

Mrs Bimbola Adisa, a resident of Agbado, also accused IE cashiers of using network failure as an excuse to force consumers into accepting the fraudulent receipts. Adisa urged the company to rectify the irregularities in their payment obligations. She said that the consumers using pre-paid meters within the zone were fed up with the series of complaints associated with pre-paid electricity bills.

When contacted, Mr Pekun Adeyanju, IE’s Assistant General Manager, Public Affairs, said the noticeable irregularities were arose during the documentation of consumers on prepaid meters early in the year. Adeyanju advised the consumers within the network that were experiencing such irregularities to contact the IE Customer Care Unit at Alausa. He said that they were aware of the problem associated with wrong names and addresses and stressed that the anomaly would soon be corrected.

The assistant general manager said that the company was not using the new payment method to defraud its consumers, adding that the cash transactions would reflect in the payment receipt. Adeyanju appealed for the understanding of consumers over the issue.

– Vanguard

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