Samuel Edu & Adedotun Aderoboye
Electricity consumers in Ondo State have called on relevant authorities to help them put an end to extortion in the hands officials of Benin Electricity Distribution Company of (BEDC) who capitalise on the lack of prepaid metres at their homes and business centres to exploit them.
According to them, lack of prepaid meters in houses and business centres across the state has subjected many residents to suffering as preys in the hands of BEDC officials who are making huge fortunes.
The situation according to the consumers became unbearable and unacceptable as they were made to pay for the services they never enjoyed.
They appealed to the Federal Government and Electricity Distribution Companies (DISCOs) to make prepaid meters available at affordable price for customers to correct estimated billing
They also appealed to Ondo State Government to call BEDC to order.
They submitted that BEDC deliberately denied them of prepaid meter so that it will be business as usual by defrauding them
They made their positions known at a separate interviews with The Hope.
Adesuyi Olajumoke said “I am a widow with three children, my husband I managed to build this small apartment before his demise. I only have a television and an old refrigerator, you will be surprised to see my bills at the end of the month.
“For instance last December, they brought a bill of N4,500, then I began to wonder how they arrived at this bill considering the fact I have nothing that could consume that much electricity, as it is now, I do not know what they will bring by month end.
Another consumer, Alaba Folashade who deals with the sale of frozen food said “the only electricity appliance I use here in my shop is this deep freezer and I wonder why BEDC will give me a bill of N3000 in a month considering the fact that electricity these days is not even stable.
“Most times, I run at a loss as a result of epileptic power supply, in some instances, I do end up roasting some of my fish to avoid complete loss.
Olalekan Oluseye said “I think the government is as helpless in the power sector just as it is in the oil sector. I see no reason why the government has been unable to call BEDC to order despite the cries of the masses.
Also, another landlord at Olaniyan street, Mr Modupe Oladugbagbe said” the meter they promised to roll out has not been issued to customers because they get money from estimated billings.
“We appeal to governments to rescue us from these power companies. Now that they have increased the bill and no light without genuine reasons.
A community youth leader, Mr. Famakinwa Lucas described the issue of lack of prepaid meters and distribution of estimated bills as causing problems among the residents in the community and called on the government to intervene by helping the people get prepaid meters.
He said “the issue of lack of prepaid meters in Ondo has become a thorn in the flesh of electricity consumers. Only a few people who are on 33KVA are given prepaid meters because they have steady electricity supply. Meanwhile the majority who are on 11KVA and do not have prepaid meters get estimated bills which is already making them to go haywire. People who do not use up to five hours of electricity throughout a month are given bills of over N20000 and N40000 per month. Our people are not happy that they are paying for darkness. We are calling on the government to please ensure that prepaid meters are given to everybody so that we only have to pay for what we consume even when there is blackout or poor power supply.”
Reacting, Professor Bamitale Oluyemi-Ayibiowu from the department of civil engineering Federal University of Technology Akure said Nigeria’s problem is complex and that the leaders knows exactly what to do to bring a permanent solution to the problems plaguing the nation.
“The government of Nigeria is just insincere, if government shows commitment, the problem of power in Nigeria would have become a thing of the past. There are several researches going on in Nigeria Universities that would have served as a permanent solution to the problem of epileptic power supply in Nigeria.