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Akwa Ibom Power Stakeholders Task PHEDC Managers On 'Crazy Bills'

By MICHAEL DADA
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Akwa Ibom State power sector stakeholders recently grilled the Business Managers of the 3 Business Units in Akwa Ibom state on the outrageous billing across the state.

Speaking at operational stakeholders meeting with the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Power, Dr. Victor Udo, the stakeholders mentioned that "the issue of outrageous billing was embarrassing."

They expressed misgivings about the authenticity of such bills and tasked the Business Managers to shun estimated billing and instead bill customers based on consumption.

While offering explanation, the BMs attributed the high electricity bills to debt incurred overtime, illegal connections, vandalization and estimated billing. They also disclosed that 40% of power generated is lost in transmission. Therefore, customers are billed to make up for the loses.

In response the SSA on Power said the present situation was unacceptable. He mentioned that "power assets were not bided for based on value but on reducing the technical and commercial loses in the sector"

Dr. Udo added that "the idea of putting the burden of commercial loses on customers was inappropriate." He urged PHEDC to develop "a more effective billing and revenue collection process."

According to NERC's Multi Year Tariff Order (MYTO), electricity bills should be commensurate with customers consumption. NERC also stipulates that meters should be given freely as long as the customer continues to pay electricity bills.

Meanwhile, NERC makes provision for customers who can afford to pay for meters to do so while PHEDC will refund them subsequently through reduction in electricity bills.

However, as consumers continue to groan under the burden of what is now popular called 'crazy bills' it is expected that the Managers of PHEDC will take the plight of consumers into cognizance and device more effective billing and revenue collection process.