Residents of the Lagos metropolis have been agonising over what they called “exorbitant” monthly electricity bills that the Ikeja Distribution Company has been issuing them.
Residents of the Somolu, Bariga, Ikeja, Ojodu-Berger, Agege and Iyana Ipaja areas of the state have accused the Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company (IKEDC), on which the responsibility of supplying the areas falls, of “just fleecing consumers.”
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The residents, who also alleged “massive” disconnection of power supply to their homes on short notice, are crying out to the federal government to intervene and call the IKEDC to order.
Consumers who are not on the pre-paid metering system told our reporter that their bills had been rising without commensurate supply over the past three months.
In some parts of Ojodu, the landlords’ association met at the weekend over the “persistent” increase in electricity bills and resolved to make an official complaint to the headquarters of the Ikeja Disco at Alausa, Ikeja.
They alleged that the charges in recent times for those on the estimated billing system ran contrary to the directive by the National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to cap estimated bills for consumers who are not metered.
Many of the residents who spoke with Daily Trust said there had been over a 100 percent increase in the charges in the last four months.
“They said the government suspended an increase in tariffs, but we have been paying exorbitant charges for the past three months,” a resident who lives on Aina Street, Ojodu, Mr Sunday David, said.
Showing some previous bills to our correspondent, David expressed shock that Ikeja Disco officials disconnected them barely a week after sending them the bill for June.
“We paid the last bill, which was for May, less than three weeks ago and they sent us the bill for June last Sunday, and on Friday came to disconnect the light.
“This last bill they gave us was N48,000; we had paid N36,000 for the previous one. It has been increasing since April when they brought N32,000.
“Yet, they expected us to pay immediately,” he said.
A landlord at Ojodu Abiodun, Mr Ahmed Sulaiman, said, “We were told the IKEDC is owing some people and they need money to pay their debts. But we are saying this is getting too much, we can’t continue to pay for what we don’t consume.”
Officials of the IKEDC have, however, denied the residents’ allegations, saying there was no deliberate move to fleece any of its customers.
The Disco’s spokesman, Felix Ofuluem, explained that consumers disconnected were those with accumulated debts from previous bills.
Ofuluem said, “Some people don’t complete their payments so they keep piling. Every customer who has complaints about his bills has a right to contest it.
“But there are laid-down processes to go about that. They should contact their respective undertaking offices to reconcile the issues.
“The increase in power supply since the lockdown also comes with increased costs, and that has inadvertently reflected in the bill. Energy theft also contributes to increase in bills because those stealing in the energy are not captured in the billing system.
“That is why we have set up a whistle blowing platform where customers can report such illegal acts. The email for the platform is firstname.lastname@example.org.”