15 December 2015, Lagos – Rural dwellers in Kogi State have cried out over what they termed, “the exploitation” of consumers by Electricity Distribution Companies. They alleged that the power distribution company covering Kogi has been serving them exorbitant bills even as power is barely provided. Our reporters who visited Odo Ere, Iyamerin and Igbaruku, all in Yagba West Local Government Area were told how the company has been collecting rates for unprovided services.
At Igbaruku, a middle aged primary school teacher who simply identified herself as Mrs Adeyemi told Vanguard the gory tail of the shylock exploitation of electricity consumers in the area. Her story: “As you can see, we barely have electricity here. At times, we may not even have electricity supply for two weeks, yet, the electricity distribution company will come with bogus bills.
“What we don’t know is how they generate their bills. How can you ask an old woman who didn’t see light for 21 days in a month to pay 3000 Naira for what she did not use? This is the highest level of corruption. Where are we going in Nigeria? Where is the change they promised. “We are using this opportunity to appeal to the Federal Ministry of Power to intervene and save us from this daylight robbery by the electricity distribution companies.
They are killing us. We buy petrol at exorbitant rate and now, we pay for the electricity we didn’t use. This is unfair to the masses of Nigeria”.
In Mopamuro Local Government Area, the story was the same. Residents groan under the heavy bills given by the electricity distribution companies despite the fact that power supply has become a luxury in the area.
Mr. Adeola, a civil servant from Agbajogun Amuro said despite the fact that supply of power to his residence was cut off since April, the distribution company still bring bills to him. “I don’t know what they are asking me to pay for. They have disconnected my power line and kept bringing bills to me. I run on generator every day of the month. We may soon end up in court because I am not prepared to pay for what I didn’t buy”.
When our reporters visited the office of the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company, Okene Branch, the Manager was not on hand to give explanations about the skyrocketing electricity tariff in Kogi communities. A staff of the company who craved anonymity said the drop in megawatt generation has led to a drop in power supply nationally. He said the drop in power supply is not peculiar to Kogi alone. However, his explanation hasn’t address the concerns of the people as their angst was not about the drop in power supply, but having to pay for power not used.
- Kingsley Fanwo, Vanguard