Electricity consumers in Onitsha, Anambra State have raised alarm over alleged exploitation and injustice meted to them by the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC).
Addressing newsmen yesterday at Iyiowa Odekpe, Ogbaru Local Government Area of Anambra State, the Abazuonu/Ihitenansa Electricity Consumers Forum in collaboration with the Civil Liberties Organization (CLO) and International Society for Civil Liberties and the Rule of Law (Intersociety), the Secretary of the Forum, Mr. Uzoma Nwadike called on the EEDC to massively install prepaid metres for them to reduce outrageous estimated bills.
He called on the EEDC to immediately stop what he called “defrauding of the electricity consumers” in the area and in the entire South East Zone.
Recalling the atrocities of EEDC, he said that the Company on October 16, 2015 engaged in mass disconnection of Ogbaru and Business Districts following a peaceful protest by the members of the Forum over non-provision of prepaid metres, which they had requested since 2013.
The Secretary said this disconnection affected 70 buildings and 600 flats, including 96 flats that use prepaid metres in the area.
He said, “as we speak, the entire area has remained in total darkness since 21st October 2015 even when over 60percent of the customers have paid their bills”.
Also speaking the Chairman of the Forum Elisha Umeh called on the Chairman of the National Electricity Regulation Commission (NERC) and the board to save them from the exploitative conducts of EEDC.
They demanded that the 14 sharp practices complaints against EEDC should be looked into by setting up a high powered panel to investigate the claims for the purpose of prohibiting and sanctioning of erring Staff of the power distribution company or the company itself.
In his speech on behalf of the human right community, Nze Emeka Umeagbalasi said, “such high powered investigation should also cover sharp bureaucratic practices associated with inadequacy of distribution of consumers and accessories and their non-maintenance, non-provision of pre-paid metres, and outrageous estimated billings in place of standardized metre billings, the continued collection of “fixed charge” of N650.00 per consumer per month”.
He accused EEDC of “profiling and appropriating transformers numbering about 40 donated by public spirited individuals” especially politicians which have a street value at N160 million without paying compensation or bill waiver for a certain period.
He lamented that EEDC was the last of all Discos in the country in terms of providing services to its consumers in the South East, saying that the electricity company had abdicated its responsibility and was busy extorting consumers.
“EEDC must be compelled to do what they suppose to be doing, take control of the maintenance transformers, install pre-paid metres, provide efficient power supply services, remove service charge and maintain cordial relationship with customers”, said Umeagbalasi.