By Emeka Anokwuru
YOUTHS in FESTAC Town, Lagos are spoiling for a showdown with the district management of the Eko Electricity Distribution Company (EKDC) Plc for disconnecting zones 1, 2 and 3 over their insistence on right billing or pre-paid metres.
The youths described as unbearable, an average monthly bill of N12,000 to over 95 percent of consumers for less than 20 hours of power supply. Residents had returned their April and May 2016 bills to the business/distribution manager, an action that may lead to breakdown of law and order.
Their demands included outright installation of pre-paid metres or reading of their analogue metres, which they said were still functional, pending the switchover. They insisted that they would not honour any further outrageous bills.
Buttressing claims of outages and ‘criminal billing,’ they disclosed that none of the prepaid metres installed in the area since late February 2016 had spent 150 out of the installed 300 units (less than N3,000).
Against the directive of the National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) on disagreements over outrageous bills, however, the community said EKDC disconnected the entire area on July 5, 2016 “without notification.”
Irked by this, in their July 11, 2016 petition to the EKDC Managing Director entitled: “Illegal Mass Disconnection of Electricity Supply and Demand for Prepaid Metres,” the community described as illegal and condemnable, “the disconnection of over 5,000 customers from the overhead line at 202 Road sub-station.”
According to the petition signed by the Secretary of Zone 1, Mr. Collins Nwanya, Chairman of Zone 2, Mr. Emma Nwokeoma, and Chairman of Zone 3 Electricity Taskforce, Mr. Nobis Ogueri, alongside their secretaries, it was “an action we believe is punishment for agitating for prepaid metres and formal protest over outrageous billings.
“The community has been experiencing epileptic and irregular power supply for over one year (often, as low as 10 hours was logged as electricity supply in a month).
“The coded billing system we have been subjected to “is outrageous and (tantamount to) obtaining money from the community members by false pretence.”
They demanded restoration of their electricity line within 48 hours or they would pursue “all necessary civil action” to defend their legitimate rights, and insisting on the immediate installation of prepaid metres for accurate billing.
The district manager was said to have invited them to a meeting after they returned the April bills, where EKDC disclosed that the bills were being calculated from the feeder poles and included consumption by welders and other unmetered consumers in the area.
It further undertook to take inventory of the electrical appliances in their residences but only did so in A Close, 111 Road.