For a very long time now, energy users across the country have been crying and shouting blue murder over the unreasonable and reasonably exorbitant bills given to them each new month by electricity distribution companies. When it was NEPA and PHCN, a lot of illegalities and absurdities happened and activists from all divides called and yearned for the privatization of such Agency because power supply as at then was nothing to write home about yet monthly bills were mountainous.
After its eventual privatization, energy users heaved a sigh of relief and promises were actually made that mass metering was very much a sine-qua-non. Contrary to the promises and assurances made and given, the mass metering vision became a pipe dream, leading to the unfortunate resort to the odd, obsolete system of estimated outrageous billing with little or no power supply at all.
The Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC) actually began to run the worst form of DISCO ever in the entire country, giving zero power supply in some places and forcing supposed customers to pay for darkness. The company suddenly turned to tiger, after it had laid off some of its good staffers after frustrating them with poor wages and remunerations thus recruiting untrained, uncivilized and monstrous elements as operations workers.
These newly recruited operations staff alongside bad ones already in the system began to wreck havoc and unleashed mayhem on hapless energy consumers. Those in the billing unit with the permission from management even before federal government’s recent hike of energy tariff, had to increase customer bills to maximize profit but not output. Of course, how would you do meter-reading, when there is no meter for consumers.
To make matters worse is the fact that EEDC and its operations staff would contribute nothing when a new house is built and wired but will always come to criminally disconnect you and go home with the cables you bought with your hard earned resources. Most communities in the South East have no transformer today and EEDC turned blind eye unto their plights but when they task themselves and communally buy new transformers and energize same, EEDC resurfaces and takes full ownership of the facility, disconnecting the villagers and barring them from accessing their property. This is highly criminal and oppressive.
The latest sorrow in town now, is the unfortunate incidents of reckless disconnections by EEDC operations staff wherein some of the consumers so-disconnected had current evidence of payments. Immediately they arrive at your gate or entrance and you fail to come out to welcome them with 21-gun salute, your name is sorry because you must be disconnected whether you paid or not. With outrageous bills coupled with outright lack of manners of these operations staff of EEDC, consumers are in deep pains, frustrated and asking God what is their offence in having being born into Nigeria. You find people living in a two-room apartment yet given 8,000 naira or more as monthly energy bill – WHAT AN AUDACIOUS IMPUNITY.
We in the Nigerian Newsguide however do not support the idea of illegally using EEDC energy and not pay for it. Our worry is that most people who pay actually, do not have power supply that is adequate and commensurate to the amount charged. A situation where un-occupied buildings and homes of dead occupants still get heavy monthly bills from EEDC operations staff aptly and reasonably explains the criminal and oppressive tendencies of EEDC field workers.
We call on EEDC management to change tactics now before it is too late, train or retrain their staff on how to go about their duties, mount pressure on the federal government to ensure mass metering by the year 2021 if they must get it right. The UNTOUCHABLE AND ABOVE THE LAW posture of EEDC staff both low and high, including their poor response to public complaints and outcry must be dealt with by its management before youths and women march round the streets in protest against EEDC just like they recently did with #ENDSARS.