Posted by News Express | 23 September 2020 | 1,744 times
By ABOLAJI ADEBAYO and DAMILOLA KUSHIMO
Allegations of delay in supplying and installing pre-paid meters years after payment are igniting anger against the Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company (IKEDC).
One of the aggrieved customers is Mr. Sola Adeshokan of No 3, Ashiriabo Street, Isolo, Lagos.
He is alleging that he paid for prepaid meter since 2012 but has not received the meter despite all efforts.
He is also alleging that IKEDC has been billing him for exorbitantly monthly with its estimated billing system even after disconnecting his home.
Adesokan explained that despite the fact that IKEDC disconnected his home in July this year, it sent him an estimated bill in August.
According to him, he applied for prepaid meter in 2012 on his meter number (0100323502) when the distribution company was still Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) but was not supplied the device.
Following the privatisation of PHCN and emergence of IKEDC, Adesokan alleged that he wrote several letters in hard copy and e-mails to the distribution company to enquire about the meter but was told to make a fresh application and pay another deposit.
The aggrieved customer said he decided to use discretion to pay based on the calculated units he consumed in a month and this has made the supposed accumulated debt to reach N508,257.83, a debt the distribution company cannot justify.
He said: “My argument is firmly established on three fronts: I duly made payment for a prepaid meter to the parent company of IKEDC in 2012 for which I was issued a receipt of payment and up till 2013, bills were still issued under PHCN only for me to be told that I would have to reapply again with IKEDC, which is not justifiable.
“The second is that, due to the discrepancies between the unit I consume on a monthly basis and the estimated bills I was served, I formally wrote to the company, on several occasions disputing the bills. This, which I believe should be addressed with reconciliation, but nothing has been done from the end of the distributing company and based on my calculated consumption, I resolved to pay less than the estimated bills they brought. I want reconciliation.
“And thirdly, almost immediately, officials of the distribution company cut off my cables on Thursday, July 23, 2020. I formally wrote a letter requesting for a disconnection notice as well as a cessation of issuing of a monthly bill till the matter is resolved. But to my surprise, I was served bills for August, claiming that I consumed 390 units which amounted to N9,130.65k. The bill they sent to me for July was 52 more units than I used in June; July is a month I was serviced for 23 days and most of these days were characterised with usual inefficiencies from the company. I want formal address on these three arguments.”
Adesokan is not the only victim of bogus estimated power charges.
Another customer, Mrs Temitope Bankole with meter number 0101478400, said she had paid for the meter since May but has not received the meter as at the time of filing this story.
Alhaji Olanrewaju Ipadeola also complained that he has not received the teller from the company to pay for the prepaid meter since he registered on his meter number 0100398492 in April.
He said instead of installing the pre-paid meter, IKEDC continues to send estimated bills to
Responding to the allegations, the Head of Corporate Communications, Ikeja Electric, Felix Ofulue, said Adeshokan should have reapplied for the meter rather than waiting for the old payment.
“This was before the privatisation so the best advice is for him to apply for a new meter through the Meter Asset Provider (MAP) Scheme.
“He should disregard the bill for August since his supply has been disconnected,” he said.
Quoting a letter from the company to Adesokan’s mail on September 14 this year, Ofulue said the company has written: “Dear Esteemed Customer, we acknowledge receipt of your mail. Please note that your payment receipt was issued in 2012, and as such paid into the now defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria.
“Consequently, you are advised to refer to the Nigeria Electricity Liability Management (NELMCO) for further assistance.
“Nonetheless, we have requested for a review of your billing from 2013 till date. This is currently being worked on by the relevant unit in charge.
“Once verified and affirmed, and adjustment would be factored within one billing cycle. Our sincere apologies for any inconvenience this may have caused.”
On those who are still waiting for deployment of the prepaid meter after payment through through the Meter Asset Provider (MAP) Scheme, Ofulue said they should calm down, promising that the meters would soon be distributed.
He claimed that the company faced challenges due to the outbreak of Covid-19.
He said: “Yes, this was caused by the myriad of economic challenges posed by the pandemic. However, there are ongoing concerted efforts to ensure that everyone who has applied for meter will have their meters installed as quickly as possible.”
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