Tempers rose and calmed at the Customers Forum organised by the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC) for the Aba Ariaria District, which was facilitated at the instance of the Aba Constituency Representative, Hon. Ossy Prestige.
The forum became expedient as electricity consumers had planned street demonstration and rally to protest poor power supply by the EEDC.
Prestige, while addressing the opening session said the meeting was to provide both the Company and the Customers the forum to air their grievances with a view to improving power supply in the area.
Consumers’ complaints ranged from outrageous billing, transformers breakdown, the use of Police to collect payments, demand for pre-paid meters, and demand for bribes by EEDC workers, to the non-commissioning of transformers procured by Subscribers.
Addressing their complaints, the EEDC Executive Director, Stephen Dike, who led other top company officers, asserted that it was the Disco’s desire to provide power sustainably.
He noted that electricity tariff is not determined by Discos in the country but by the statutory body created by the Federal Government. “We only distribute the nine per cent national generation allotted the South East (EEDC Territory) by the Transmission Company,” he said.
On prepaid meters, Dike said the distribution and installation started in 2014, but expressed worry over their being by-passed. “This is why we now install them (meters) on top the polls and by so doing it slows the speed. EEDC paid N10 billion to procure Prepaid Meters this year.”
He warned against overloading of transformers’ capacity, as this causes their explosion and breakdown, and urged those who procured transformers to seek advice on the appropriate type, stressing that it was not the company policy that consumers procured materials.
On the allegation of demand for bribe by EEDC workers, the Dike counselled consumers to demand for ID Cards of those that claim to be EEDC staff, and possibly use phones to take them pictures and forward to the company. “You should not give bribe to somebody to do his official work.”
The Executive Director, who however admitted that there were still some issues the EEDC needed tackle, also noted that it was rather too early for the Disco within the short period it came on board, to have addressed all the anomalies and problems it inherited from the defunct PHCN. He pleaded with consumers to exercise more patience and cooperation.
He added that the use of the Police is not to enforce payment but to provide security for EEDC workers on official duty and protect them from attacks and possible kidnaps given the reported threats by some consumers.
One of the participants to the forum, Tony Agbanyim, a former councillor, proffered some solutions to the poor power supply. These include the commissioning of the Geometric Power Plant at Osisioma, and making available pre-paid meters to all.
Source: The Guardian