The desire to further exploit Nigerian public has informed the latest crazy bill by electricity companies knowing fully that there is no regulatory authority that would call them to order.
The issue of crazy bills is as long the privatisation of the electricity companies, however rather than the problem getting abated, it is on the rise and simply because the power firms want to make up for the losses they felt they have incurred for the period under lock down occasioned by the advent of COVID19.
Of particular interest is the bill for the month of April which in most cases went up astronomically by about 300 percent.
BusinessDay informer interactions with some of the people that work for some of the companies said that the major reason the firms decided to up their April bill was just to make up for the presumed losses they have incurred not minding other consumers have also incurred losses in the period under lockdown.
They are trying to make up for the losses they have incurred from their maximum demand users from small and medium scale entrepreneur and even house hold customers who probably they can coerce to pay whatever bill they are given, Emmanuel Olorunfemi who maintain a dry laundry factory in Ikorodu, Lagos said.
This attitude by the electricity firms is not only outrageous but also a direct opposite of the government plan to alleviate poverty in the country.
Gbolahan Adetutu, who operate a provision store in Alapere, a suburb of Lagos under Ikeja Electric said his bill was raised from N6,000 to N21, 000. He said he has gone to some their customer centres to see if they can reverse the situation but he was told to go and pay what he was paying before until when the issue is resolved.
A young man who shared his experience us on social media stated that after several attempts to get pre- paid meter by Ikeja Electric Distribution Company in Lagos, he was given an outrageous bill that is unrealistic.
The young man simply named Fisayo in his twitter handle said that he was given a bill of N34,000 to pay for electricity consumption in April. He paid N10,000 and the company still disconnected his power supply.
He had to terminate their abusive relationship with him as he told them not to bother reconnecting the power.
He further stated that he doesn’t even use electricity that much as he is a bachelor that rarely stays home.
“I will not pay N34,000 for 4 weeks of electricity” Fisayo said. “N34,000 for only me when I don’t run a bakery house”.
“It is fraudulent not to give me a prepaid meter despite all my best efforts yet send me an estimated billing worth at least 6 times my billing consumption. This fraud is now well and truly over”.
Some Nigerians concerned by this situation also aired their comments.
Another person, @AyamBash said after Buhari, the other problem of Nigeria is electricity companies, especially, the Discos Electric is the second problem of this country.
“Is this not daylight robbery by Ikeja Electric?
Billing someone who doesn’t consume that much electricity N34,000. Nigerian electricity companies are another frustration in this country.”, he said.
The Eko Electricity Distribution Company (Eko Disco) billed the former Minister of Communication Technology, Dr. Omobola Johnson, former minister for Communication, an estimated electricity bill of N29,000 for the month of April.
According to her, not even a light bulb was on in the whole month while the lockdown lasted noting, “they had the audacity to disconnect the power because I refused to pay.”
She said: “This estimated billing nonsense really has to stop.”
But as unexpected, Eko Disco responded in a tweet saying and maybe because of the person involved the company quickly apologised
“We do apologise for the inconvenience. Kindly send us your contact details and snapshots of your current and previous bills as a DM so we can escalate and treat accordingly.
But reacting to the allegation of crazy bills, Eko Electricity Distribution Company through its general manager Corporate communication, Godwin Idemudia said the slight increase customers have seen recently in their bills within EKEDC area of coverage is as a result of the following:
Due to the lockdown, a lot of families are stay at home thereby resulting to increase in power consumption.
a. Electrical appliances are put in full use. For example, air conditioners, pumping machine, televisions, fridges, fans, internet etc. All these comfort cannot be achieved without power.
b. Unlike before the lockdown, some families go to work while few people are at home if any. Within the period, you can agree with me that the consumption was low hence the bill was low too.
He said we should not forget that the bill for May 2020 is the outcome of the consumption in April 2020.
“In a nutshell, you will notice that with the ease in lockdown, the bill will be reduced a little compared to when customers were asked to compulsory stay at home.
Be rest assured that once the pandemic is over, the Bill’s will be different.”
His Ikeja counterpart, Felix Ofuele said his organisation made a commitment to its customers to ensure that they have steady and quality supply for the period of the lockdown and that is exactly what happened. The average availability of power for April on IE network was not less than 16 hours. So it is only logical that the bill will reflect the level of consumption.
Source: Business Day