A Review of the Nigerian Energy Industry

Esie-Tedo community writes EKEDC, demands end to crazy bills

…NERC intervenes, issues Disco 2-week ultimatum

EKEDC corporate head-office on Marina, Lagos

Sam Ikeotuonye

24 May 2018, Sweetcrude, Lagos – The Esie-Tedo community in Oriade Local Council Development Area of Lagos State has written the management of Eko Electricity Distribution Company, EKEDC, protesting “crazy, outrageous estimated billing” by the company’s Agboju Undertaking.

The community, under the auspices of Esie-Tedo/Paul Shotinuyo Streets Landlord/Residents Association, is also protesting unwholesome practices by the company’s representatives in the area, including alleged corruption on the part of some of the workers.

The landlords and residents called for immediate provision of prepaid meters to the area and a thorough investigation on light consumption by individual member houses as, according to them, the current billing system has created an avenue for exploitation of members of the community and their hard earned money by workers at the Agboju office.

In a letter dated May 16, 2018 and addressed to the Commercial Manager, EKEDC, Festac Town, it was stated that the area is made up of buildings of two and three bedroom flats and that each flat was being billed between N20,000 and N35,000 monthly by EKEDC.

The letter, titled “Protest letter on crazy, outrageous estimated billing by Eko Electricity Distribution Company, Agboju Undertaking”, read in part: “We the residents and landlords of Esie-Tedo and Paul Shotinuyo Streets hereby bring to your formal notice the very unwholesome practices perpetrated in the name of your organisation against our members.

“Your organisation is in the habit of imposing very high estimated electricity bills on our members. This has gotten so bad and outrageous that your April 2018 billings ranged from N20,000 to N35,000 per home, which homes are averagely two or three bedroom flats”.

The letter noted that some of the residents had made honest appeals in the past to the Agboju office to stop the crazy and outrageous electricity billing problem, but that all such appeals had continually fallen on deaf ears.

“Our community is in rage over the crazy and outrageous billings and would not entertain any of your workers in our community for any form of light disconnection in our neighbourhood until the issued raised are addressed,” the letter added, insisting that the average consumption of members with respect to estimated billing should not exceed N3,000 per house/flat as the area is not a commercial zone.

Justifying this, the letter stated that members of the community who were using pre-paid meters put their monthly electricity consumption at about N1,500.

While the protest letter was being submitted at the Agboju Undertaking and the Festac office of Eko Electric, workers at the two offices blatantly refused to collect the letter from the Chairman of the Esie-Tedo/Paul Shotinuyo Streets Landlord/Residents Association, Mr. Okey Ochulo, and the members of the community’s Electricity Committee, who went with him.

At the Agboju office, where Mr. Ochulo and his team first went, a marketing officer, Mrs Amaka, who the letter was routed through, declined to collect it. At the Festac office, the Commercial Manager was not present and the Customer Care officer on duty refused to accept the letter for transmission to the manager, claiming she does not want to lose her job.

It took a phone call to the Abuja headquarters of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, to force the officer at the Festac office to finally collect and acknowledge receipt of the letter.

The NERC official, who spoke to the officer in Festac on the phone, besides directing that the letter be collected without any further waste of time also instructed that the issues raised in the letter be addressed within two weeks.

NERC has, meanwhile, also advised the community to call and schedule a meeting with its Lagos office should EKEDC not meet their expectations in two week’s time.

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