30 August 2016, Lagos – Electricity consumers in Ijeshatedo in SuruLere Local Government Area, Lagos State, have threatened not to pay their monthly electricity bills to the Eko Electricity Distribution Company (EKEDC) until it installed prepaid meters in their houses.
They told newsmen in Lagos in separate interviews that they were tired of paying estimated bills, while the neighbouring communities enjoyed minimal charges on their prepaid meters. Mr Eniola Taiwo, a resident of Ogunlana Street, told pressmen that electricity consumers in the area were usually served outrageous bills ranging from N10, 000 to N35,000 monthly.
Taiwo, also the General Secretary of the Ogunlana Community Development Association, said that the association had written several letters to the management of EKEDC, that manages the area.
“In spite of the community’s efforts to ensure that EKEDC installs functional prepaid mmeters in the area, the distribution company has not replied to any of our letters. “We, the electricity consumers in Ijeshatedo, still stand on our request for installation of prepaid meters before we can resume paying electricity bills.
“Consumers in Lawanson, Mushin, Pako Aguda and Itire are enjoying minimal bills through their prepaid meters, why should Ogunlana be an exception? “The company has no reason bringing in the police or army to disconnect our power supply since it has not granted our request. “Since the company refuses to reply to our letter of May 3, we know that what it is trying to tell us, is that we mean nothing to them,’’ Taiwo said.
A banker, Mrs Chinyere Akinfenwa, another resident of Ogunlana Street, Ijeshatedo, said she received a bill of N15,000 monthly. Akinfenwa said that a colleague of hers who lived in a similar residential apartment at Adetola Street in Aguda spent N2,500 to recharge her prepaid meter monthly.
“How can I pay N15,000 to EKEDC monthly while my colleague pays only N2,500 monthly? This is injustice and cheating.
“The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has mandated all Distribution Companies (DISCOs) to ensure that they issued prepaid meters to all their consumers, so EKEDC should comply.
“Unless we are metered accordingly, nobody will pay; we are in a civilised world now,’’ Akinfenwa said.
A fashion designer, Mr Bode Adefarasin, also of Ogunlana Street, urged EKEDC to stop the distribution of electricity bills in the area because they were fed up with estimated billing.
Responding to the threat, Mr Ademola Adegoke, the Head of Department, EKEDC Public Communications Unit, said the company had a five-year plan to meter all consumers in the zone. Adegoke urged consumers who could not wait till when the company would install prepaid meters in their houses to apply through the CAPMI scheme.
He appealed to the aggrieved consumers in Ijeshatedo to exercise patience assuring them that the EKEDC’s management would look into their issues. Adegoke, however, told the consumers to pay for the power they were consuming.