IKEDC’s fraudulent, obnoxious, provocative, exploitation of consumers: enough is enough, Nigerians are suffering

When President Muhammedu Buhari was sworn in five years ago, people were happy, especially when he declared that power supply will receive his full attention. The power sector was one of his major agenda and we all looked forward to find succor in the deplorable state of electricity in Nigeria.
Privatizing the underutilized power sector in the country was a good thing and this would have made the President’s agenda more successful.
But sadly, those who bought the power stations have continued to plunge Nigerians in darkness and there seems to be no hope for the masses in sight. The power company franchisees have been showing sign of ineptitude and gross abuse of the masses’ right to use the service, of which they paid for.
Most of the DISCO companies, especially the IKEDC, are ill-treating the masses and robbing people in many ways. Since they took over business affairs of power supply, they have consistently served people outrageous bills. The estimated billing started five years ago is what they are still running today; they have deliberately made it difficult for customers to acquire prepaid meters.
These estimated billings are sent without the accurate charges on what the customers use in a month. Houses with few electric appliances will get unreasonable charges at the end of the month without any clear breakdown of what they consumed.
This old billing system, which had been replaced with the prepaid system is what the privatized firms are still using on a larger scale, because it is easier for them to spin cash out of Nigerians.
The electricity firms are dragging their feet to supply prepaid meters for selfish reasons. Months and years after many people applied for prepaid meters, they looked up in vain to get their orders, coupled with the fact they had to pay in advance for the meter. The few prepaid meters the IKEDC released to customers are still fraudulently maneuvered. For instance, after issuing the prepaid meter with hundred units, which will last for few days, they will give you an activation code to continue the usage. After the expiration of the 100 units, it is another problem, because consumers will wait for weeks to get connected again. Throughout this period of waiting, the customer will remain in blackout.
With the many complaints to the IKEDC, the top management will only appear in mass media with bogus claims and policies, whereas the situation remain the same.
The sad thing about the whole affair is that this electricity power situation, just like the fuel crisis, affects the entire populace and it is worse for the poor consumers.
While the President is making effort to salvage the economy, many corrupt and greedy officials and businessmen are making things difficult. The entire power sector is marred with massive fraud, bribery by staff who have turned to racketeering, ineptitude in handling complaints and bullying of the power users.
The staff are used to collecting gratifications from customers else they disconnect houses by removing the electricity wire. The field staff will defy the regulations and procedure before disconnection of consumers’ cables from the pole. Most time, when people are pushed to the wall by the IKEDC staff, they unleash their aggression on the field men.
They serve people bills even when the houses were without power supply for months and the bill will always be same or even higher. When my office was disconnected after I challenged them for outrageous bill, I ran on generator for five weeks before the reconnection; yet, when they served me bill, it read charges for the five weeks we had no power supply.
Another similar incident happened in an Ikeja GRA where a consumer, Dapo Animashaun, was served millions of naira bill for power consumption. When he challenged the bill, they disconnected his house from the pole. Hear him: “My own experience has not been palatable. In the first 22 months of moving into the property, I was given estimated billings running into several millions naira, and was even disconnected for ten months of that period.”
Many residents of GRA Ikeja have also made several passionate pleas to the Ikeja Electric Distribution Company for the installation of pre-paid meter to their residences for the purposes of being able to calculate the quantum of electricity consumed by them. However, all efforts made by the residents to get pre-paid meters installed in the residents for use were rebuffed or frustrated by the Ikeja Electric Distribution Company.
“And despite assurances by the officials and the former amiable CEO, consumers have been subjected to harrowing experiences, and the residents subjected to extended periods of being plunged into darkness, and having to suffer from the wanton flexing of muscles by the Ikeja Electric officials,” he concluded
Ikeja Electric, under the present management, has refused to do the needful, instead they have resorted to using the Police formation: MOPOL 22 and Area F to harass innocent residents.
I am pleading with the Federal Government to look into the service delivery of the DISCOS so that the intended benefits of the privatization of the power sector will not continue to be undermined and frustrated by the actions of the DISCOS.
People using the estimated billing system are largely paying for what they did not consume and the power firms are not willing to give out prepaid meters.
Many times, an entire community would not have power supply for weeks or more and there would not be an explanation for the power outage; yet, the bill would reflect charges for the weeks the consumer stayed without light.
There were several occasions residents of the Ebute GRA had no power supply for days; yet, they got exorbitant estimated bills the following month; the charges never reduced. When people complain, IKEDC will ask for a written complaint; after sending them your complain, the issues remain and nothing is done about it.
When the power sector was privatized, everyone hoped supply would improve in the country, but today, five years after, the problem remains as it was. Nothing has improved in their services, except outrageous estimated bill everywhere. Their staff were not trained to serve customers as they just disconnect custumers’ light without following the Consumer-Act; they ask communities and CDAs to pay for transformer and other accessories.
During the lockdown for instance, the Federal Government instructed the power holding companies to write-off two months bill for the masses; they never did. They collected all bills from the consumers. They treat customers with contempt since people are not in the know of the Power ACT and other related laws.
Another fraudulent act perpetuated by DISCOS is that they keep deducting money from your prepaid meter if you owe in the previous bill, without explanation for unused estimates. And when you protest, they disconnect you from the poles.
The government officials, who should hold the electricity companies for their gross irregular and unlawful activities, turned blind eyes because most of the owners are past and present Governors, Presidents and Ministers.
My appeal to the Federal Government is to please take a bold step and overhaul the power sector by monitoring their activities and ensuring that the staff adhere to the regulations and laws guiding power operation.
Enough is enough, Mr. President, we are suffering!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: