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Kaduna residents protest ‘outrageous’ electricity billings, want prepaid meters

Residents of Ministerial Pilot Housing (MPH) estate in Millenium City, Kaduna on Saturday staged a peaceful protest asking the National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and…

Residents of Ministerial Pilot Housing (MPH) estate in Millenium City, Kaduna on Saturday staged a peaceful protest asking the National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and the Federal Government to compel Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company (KEDCO) to stop its “outrageous billings” and provide them with prepaid meters.

The residents who carried signs with messages that read: “Stop over billing us, enough of impunity”, “we are not industrial consumers,” said they were prepared to seek legal action against the distribution company.

Chairman of the MPH electricity committee, Abdulrauf Taha, told Daily Trust that the residents of the community have had several meetings with KEDCO and NERC, yet they are slammed with outrageous bills of between N40,000 to N250,000 monthly.

Taha said: “These outrageous bills are coming in monthly. We have a situation whereby a one-bedroom apartment is billed N170,000 and a three bedroom is billed N250,000. In fact, the least bill is about N40,000. So we don’t know the criteria they are using and the question is, what happened to the government’s capping systems?”

He described the several meetings with NERC and the disco as fruitless since KEDCO had not implemented any of the recommendations and is yet to be sanctioned by the regulatory agency.

 “After the meeting, it was decided that the disco takes load assessments and then provide us with meters but the very next month, they slammed us with higher bills and up till today they have not metered us.

“Our area is a new estate under the Federal Mortgage Bank. the transformers were provided by the mortgage bank while poles and cables were provided by us. The disco provided nothing except to start bills us,” he said.

According to the chairman, their demands are simple: “We want them to stop over billing us, we want them to provide us with meters and we want them to wipe the outstanding on the bills because we can only pay for what we consume.”

Daily Trust reports that resident of Badiko, Unguwan Rimi, Apakwa have equally complained of such billings and insist they want the distribution company to provide them with prepaid meters.

Halima Rufai who lives in a two-bedroom apartment in Badiko said: “I made a complain and the disco sent a technical staff to take my load assessment and after that, the staff told me that my actual consumption was far below what I was billed and that the issue will be rectified. Instead, the next month I saw another increase of N10,000 and my current bill is N38,000.”

When contacted, the Head, Corporate Communication for KEDCO, Abdulazeez Abdullahi, said there have been a significant increase in hours of supply since the Service Based Tariff commenced hence an increase in charges as spelt out in the SBT should be expected.

Abdallah however said customers who contest their billing have the right to lay a complaint which the disco will look into and address.

“There are laid down procedures stipulated by NERC for customer complaint resolution which we always advise customers to follow. Unfortunately, many don’t, but would rather rush to the media.

“All customers who feel over billed should lodge a written complaint individually at the service center and steps will be followed to address the complaint. We do not bill communities as a group. We bill individual customers since everyone has an account and a bill,” he said.

Why the community have not been metered?
On why the communities have not been metered since the launch of 80,000 meters under the national Mass Metering in October, he said the 80,000 meters were allocated to four of its franchise states and are not targeted at all communities and customers at once.
“Due to insufficient number of the meters, we are starting with areas that have high hours of supply on Band A before graduating to other areas. We urge customers to be patient. Those customers that are not on Band A and want a meter can do so via the Meter Asset Provider scheme where they are expected to pay for it,” he added.

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