Nsukka businessmen protest 'fraudulent' electricity bills

By The Citizen

The business community in Nsukka, Enugu State, has accused the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company of fraudulently jerking up their electricity bills.

The businessmen, under the aegis of Nsukka Allied Business Community, made the allegation in a protest letter to the EEDC management.

They (businessmen) had in copy of the letter made available to newsmen in Enugu on Sunday, accused the power company of deliberately refusing to supply them with pre-paid metres in a bid to continue issuing them with fraudulent charges.

The letter signed by the president and the secretary of the union, Mr. Augustine Okagu and Mr. Godwin Ojobo, respectively, as well as representatives of other affiliate unions, called on the EEDC to urgently end estimated billing in Nsukka land.

'We write to inform you of our frustration in the usage of power in Nsukka area of your operations. Our union has received complaints that several consumers have been permanently denied the usage of pre-paid metres by your company, a situation that is even compounded by the deteriorating power supply in the area.

'To worsen matters, these consumers continue to receive outrageously exorbitant monthly bills, which bear no correlation to the quantity of electricity supplied to their shops and households.

'This would not have been the case if prepaid metres had been made available to ensure that consumers pay according to what they consume,' the businessmen said in the letter.

Continuing, the Nsukka business community noted that the failure of the EEDC to supply the pre-paid metres was deliberate.

'Our enquiries has shown that that this failure to install pre-paid metres by the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company is not as a result of the scarcity of metres, but of the failure to award contracts for their supply to the manufacturing companies and importers licensed to do so by the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission.

'We were delighted sometime last year, when the Managing Director of EEDC, Mr. Robert Dickerman, was reported in the media to have said that EEDC was conducting a population study of electricity consumers in the region with which it would plan its deployment of pre-paid metres.

'Sadly, there has been no positive action towards meeting the needs of consumers since this statement was reported in the media in April last year,' they said.

Insisting on pre-paid metres, the businessmen said a situation where consumers were forced to pay more than what they consumed was in breach of their human rights.

They argued that pre-paid metres would prevent exploitation in electricity consumers, saying, 'We consider the failure to supply pre-paid metres to Nsukka people by EEDC and the continuous imposition of exorbitant estimated bills on them as an abridgement of our rights.

'We equally recall that sometime last year, we held a meeting with your (EEDC) management here in Nsukka, after which promises were made to rectify this anomaly.

'But, one year after, no progress has been made in this regards. All we are saying is that the EEDC should give us metres so that we can measure the energy we use monthly.

'We are fed up with estimated billing system, which we see as an avenue to exploit our members and indeed the good people of Nsukka. We have suffered a lot on this prepaid metre issue for quite a long time. We can no longer bear it again. We say no to estimated billing system,' they said.