Port Harcourt — Aggrieved electricity customers in Rivers State, on Wednesday protested against the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company, asking the Disco to pack out of the state, over estimated billings.
The protesters, under the auspices of Concerned Electricity Consumers in Rivers State, marched from Sharks Stadium in Ilorin Street, old Port Harcourt Township, passing through Hospital Road to barricade the entrance of PHEDC head office in Moscow Road.
The protesters who came out with placards with different inscriptions such as, “No to estimated billings”, “No to illegal disconnections”, “Give us prepaid meters”, “Residents of Ogbogoro rejects N3.6million outrageous demand by PHEDC to supply power to the area,” etc.
Leader of the protest, Enefaa Georgewill, said the protest was just a warning, while demanding to be addressed by the Managing Director of the Port Harcourt Disco.
Georgewill who is also the Chairman of Rivers State Civil Society Organizations, accused NERC of failing in their mandate to properly regulate the electricity distribution companies in the country.
“NERC which is supposed to regulate and police the electricity distribution sector has failed, they are romancing the Discos instead of policing them.
“Estimated billings is daylight robbery, we say no to over billing of electricity customers. If a man has failed, the right thing to do is to send him packing. Are you aware that PHEDC is selling the free prepaid provided by the federal government? They should pack and go.
“This is just a warning protest, we will go home and mobilized, then come again in full force soon and when we come, we will not leave until our demands are met”
Also speaking, a victim of estimated billing, Kofi Bartels, said “We are asking PHEDC to stop sending us outrageous, illogically high electricity bills and illegal disconnections of customers.”
Meanwhile, the management of PHEDC, has assured that the Disco was open to dialogue with aggrieved customers, as a responsible organization.
Acting Manager, Corporate Communications PHED, Chioma Aninwe, responding to the issue of overbilling, said electricity tariff are set by the government, and Discos have no hands in it.
Aninwe advised customers to apply for prepaid meters under the MAP scheme, as it was impossible for the federal government provided meters to get to every customers, especially since the Disco already have a metering gap of over one million
“PHED is open to customers who feel aggrieved. The tariff is set by the federal government, we the Disco do not have any hand in setting electricity tariff.”