Residents of Gishiri, a suburb of the Federal Capital Territory, have appealed to the Public Complaints Commission (PCC), Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission, (NERC), and other relevant agencies to come to their rescue from what they call high-handedness and harassment from the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company, (AEDC).
In a letter dated January 24 and addressed to the Chairman of NERC obtained by The Whistler, the residents alleged that officials of the company have engaged in serial increment of their bills without corresponding service.
The letter reads in part; “the officials of AEDC in the past one year have engaged in arbitrary increases in electricity bills in this village from three hundred (N300) Naira to five hundred (N500) Naira to seven hundred (N700) Naira to one thousand (N1000) Naira to two thousand (N2000) Naira to three thousand (N3000) Naira and of course plus additional 10% additional increment they are agitating for without justification.”
The residents wondered why their bills have continued to skyrocket since there is no metering system available to measure their consumption.
They said the community is predominantly low income earners in shanties and have no business with the luxury of ostentatious electronic gadgets that consume high energy. “Some of us have only one bulb and one fan in our houses. It is an open fraud to tell us to pay three thousand Naira monthly. We just can’t,” a resident who gave his name as Tochukwu explained.
Earlier, in a letter dated December 6, 2016, AEDC through the manager Gwarimpa area office, Mrs. Anna Ocei, said “we are the custodian of the services we give to you, we can withdraw our services. We are to sell the energy given to us while you may buy if you need it. It is not mandatory for us to sell if we will not get the monetary value attached to the energy we deliver to your community. We are in business to satisfy your needs and maximise our profits.
Therefore, you cannot determine the market for us. “Secondly, as regards the billing system we cannot reverse the billing system in Gishiri village because we are not even collecting the equivalent of the energy delivered to you. Gishiri community is under billed and we incur so much loss in the community. In line with this development, we have to increase your monthly billing to at least commensurate with the energy delivered to you.”
A concerned indigene of the community, Ernest Nzediegwu, expressed concern over the high billing that have been forced down the throats of the residents.
He said the transformer which the community currently uses came about through his efforts and that of other concerned residents through series of appeals to the NERC and questioned the moral justification of AEDC to charge the residents exorbitantly.
He described as outrageous the rumoured plan to jack up their contested three thousand (N3000) Naira monthly bill to eight thousand (N8000) Naira.
“There is a circular going round that the bill is increasing from three thousand Naira to eight thousand Naira per room. It is suicidal and I am sure that is going to boomerang and it will cause a lot of trouble,” Nzediegwu cautioned.
A member of Gishiri Electricity Committee, Mr. Atile Ambrose, decried the serial exploitation which the community have for long faced and wants as a matter of urgency the high billing cut down.