Alimosho Residents Wail Over Seven-month Long Blackout

Fourteen-year-old Zimbabwean twins Gugulettu (L) and Ntokozo Ndebele read and write by candlelight at their family home in the capital Harare February 19, 2006. Frequent electricity failures and load shedding plague the country and are the result of ageing generating and distribution equipment and a critical shortage of foreign currency to import the necessary spare parts. Zimbabwe does not produce sufficient electricity for its own needs so it imports power from neighboring South Africa, Mozambique, Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).  REUTERS/Howard Burditt

For many residents of Alimosho Local Council, especially those living around Ikotun, Igando, Isheri and Iyana-Ipaja, electricity supply from noisy power-generating sets has been their only source of power in the last seven months.

For them, the Ikeja Electricity Company, the power distribution company that should be supplying them electricity only exists by name.

Findings revealed that most of these residents do not even know the reason behind the blackout. This is because transformers in their domain are not faulty, neither is any of the high-tension cables damaged.

Ironically, until the residents kicked against exploitation by the distribution company and refused to pay any electricity bills, the distribution company still expected them to pay their monthly electricity bills.

Right now, the power outage has not only affected businesses in the affected areas, social life in the communities has been ruined.

Mrs. Mojiola Adekiyesi, a hair stylist, who resides at Ijegun, said the power outage has snuffed life out of her business.

According to her, since cannot afford to power her generating set all-day long, some of her customers are looking for alternative outfits to do business with.

“Apart from hairdressing, I sell drinks too, and customers prefer cold drinks. So, when the drinks are not cold, people just go for alternatives. So, if there is anything that can be done to restore public power supply in this area, I will be really glad.”

For Miss Emmanuella Okoye, who lives in Ikotun, the continuous power outage has forced residents to take steps in order not to be “left in the dark.”

“For instance, we all go about with our mobile phones and chargers at night looking for where to charge these devices for a fee. Every now and then, I spend N50 to charge my mobile phone and torchlight. The most annoying thing is the fact that they still bring electricity bills for us to pay.

“Sometimes at midnight, we are supplied electricity for only a few minutes just in a bid to justify supply, and when we refuse to pay the crazy bills that they come up with at the end of the month, they just come around and get affected persons disconnected. At some point, I stopped paying the electricity bills because I can’t be spending money on services that I am not enjoying. I am tired of this area.”

On his part, Mr. Uche Nwabodo, who lives in Isheri, said “We don’t see light at all, and it affects what I do. When you talk of light in this area, it is nothing to write home about.”

Mr. Chibueze Okeke, living in Igando, sells frozen chicken and fish. Okeke said he does not rely on the disco for supply of electricity. “I run my generator from morning till night, reason I had to up the prices of some of my goods.”

When contacted, the Community Development Committee (CDC), Elder. Ademola Osibeluwo, Jp, said he was not happy with the perennial non-supply of electricity to the community. He therefore pleaded with the electricity company to do something quick aside ensuring residence have access to prepaid metres.

According to him, it is important that they are supplied with prepaid metre so residents would be then be paying for what they consumed.

To tackle the issue, he said they are working with the king of the area, as they wanted Alimosho to be a better area for people to live in.

Head, Corporate Communications, Ikeja Electricity, Mr. Felix Ofulue, said that his company has not got the complaint of the residents of the affected communities.

“They have never laid any complain to us that they do not have electricity. And if at all they do not, it is because they do not pay their bills, and they will never tell people that they do not pay their bills. “If you tell them to show you their bills, they will not show you. Let them pay their bills regularly so that they can get quality supply, because what we get is what we give.”

 

Source: TheGaurdian

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