Residents of Apapa road and Ebutte Metta, in Lagos State, have protested a 32- day power outage by Eko Electricity Distribution Company (EKEDC), Lagos.
The residents, under the aegis of Concerned Community Development Associations (CDAs), staged a peaceful rally on major streets and submitted a protest letter to the EKEDC District Manager in the area.
The protesters carried placards with various inscriptions such as: “EKEDC, our mumu don do,” “This extortion must stop,” “We are your customers, we know our rights,” “Stop distributing bills when there is no supply” and “Enough is enough.”
A businesswoman Mrs. R. Omolara said: “Nigerians are deprived of basic utilities. We can’t use our fridges, fans, and air conditioners and even catch up with the news on television.
We even pay heavily for the epileptic power supply, because we are not metered and so, high bills are dished out on us.”
A former chairman of the association, Alhaji Mudasiru Taiwo, alleged that EKEDC was extorting residents of the area.
“When EKEDC brings electricity for three days, within those days, they will bring bills and make sure residents pay for the bills, then the residents will be on blackout for 27 days.
“So, when they brought the last bills, we rejected them because we cannot continue to pay for what we did not consume.
“Honestly, there is no justification for the bills when there was no supply throughout the month of February.
“So, we are thinking they may still bring bills this month despite the outage, that is why we came out to protest, we do not want a repeat of last month’s situation,” Taiwo said.
A civil servant with Lagos State Government, who resides at Thomas Street, Ebute-Metta, Mrs. Funke Ilori, called on officials of the company to remove their cables from the poles since they no longer supply power to them.
“In the last 32 days that we have been on the outage, the majority of us have resigned to destiny, so I will suggest that EKEDC should come and remove our wires from the poles. What is the use of connecting us without supply,” Ilori said.
A protester, Mr. Julius Ajumobi, said the areas affected were Ibadan Street, Babani Street., Park Street., Thomas Street., Joseph Lambo Street, Ondo Street., Brickfield Street and parts of Railway Road.
Ajumobi, a frozen fish trader, said the outage affected all traders of frozen products, adding that most of them had relocated to other areas on Island where the electricity supply was constant.
ALSO, residents of Oke-Afa, Oshodi, Maryland and some areas under the Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company (IKEDC) have complained of an epileptic power supply despite paying exorbitantly for the scarce supply.
The residents complained that oftentimes IKEDC sends messages such as: “The current supply interruption is as a result of fault on the feeder supplying your vicinity. Our Engineers are currently working to resolve this. Please be assured that the supply will be restored as soon as the fault is cleared.
“Dear Customer, the outage you are experiencing is due to load shedding by Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN). Please be assured that your supply would be restored as soon as this is over. We apologise for the inconvenience caused. Thank you for allowing us to serve you.”
But the General Manager, Corporate Communications Department, EKEDC, Mr Godwin Idemudia, said the issue was being addressed.
Idemudia said representatives of the affected communities and the company recently held a town hall meeting in Surulere on the matter.
“Apart from the fault we initially had on the feeder, which has been cleared, they refused to pay for energy already consumed by them.
“No business thrives when money owed is not paid.
“Also, they refused our staff access into their community to carry out their legitimate duties, which is unacceptable.
“We have had a series of meetings with them. We are surprised at the protest, which does not favour either side.
“My advice is for both parties to continue to sit at a round table so we can resolve the lingering issues amicably. We value our customers,” Idemudia said.
On his part, Head of Corporate Communications, Ikeja Electric, Felix Ofulue said meters are available to customers, who are willing to pay.
“So the question of not getting metered does not arise. We even introduced 24hr metering. People who are not willing to pay will have to wait for the next phase of NMMP (National Mass Metering Programme) and the commencement of the next phase is determined by FG.”
Also, Community and Media Relations Manager, IKEDC, Akinola Ayeni explained that the reason for epileptic supply is low supply from the generation company.
“As a result, the distribution companies are affected. If there is a low generation, it will affect all the DisCos. It is what they generate that will be transmitted, but it’s improving and it will get better.”