Port Harcourt — The Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Companies, SSAEAC, has warned electricity consumers in Rivers State, not to pay any money for the installation of prepaid meters in there homes, describing it as double taxation.
Assistant General Secretary of SSAEAC, South-South Zone, Innocent Lord-Douglas, decried the increase in meter bye-pass and extortion of consumers perpetrated by contractors installing Federal Government’s free prepaid meters for consumers.
Lord-Douglas recalled that the government recently, instructed that all electricity consumers should be metered, and obtained loans from the Central Bank of Nigeria, for the distribution company to meter every household.
He, however, lamented that the contractors installing these free meters, disguise as staff of Port Harcourt Disco to extort money from unsuspecting consumers to bye-pass their meter, describing the act as criminal.
He further pointed out that the companies installing the prepaid meters are not members of SSAEAC, nor staff of PHED, but contractors.
“As labour, it is our duty to protect our members and one of the ways in which we are doing it is to inform the public that those people who come to install meter in their houses are not PHED staff or our member, they should not give them any money because they are not supposed to collect money from consumers.
“Giving them money during meter installation amounts to double taxation and extortion, make sure you get the name of the person that tries to extort money from you, if possible call in the police on them and inform us we will be right there.
“We also want the public to know it is a criminal offence to bye-pass a meter, it is called electricity theft”
He disclosed that on several occasions, members of the union have been assaulted and attacked by electricity consumers, on realizing they were tricked by the meter installers to bye-pass their meters