Crazy Bills: Bayelsa journalists take on Port Harcourt Electricity DISCO
Posted by News Express | 20 December 2016 | 1,542 times
The leadership of the Federated Correspondents’ Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Bayelsa Council, has described the continued estimated billing system of the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (PHEDC) as unacceptable and a rip-off on electricity consumers in the state.
The Federated Chapel, which comprises correspondents working for national media operating in Bayelsa, called on the Management of PHEDC to immediately commence the supply of pre-paid meters to customers to end the era of extortion by way of arbitrary skyrocketed bills.
It made the call in a statement coming on the heels of numerous complaints by consumers in Yenagoa on the alleged inefficiency in the system.
Citing the case of exorbitant monthly estimated bill of between N5,000 and N6,000 at its chapel Secretariat on Toolda road, Ekeki, Yenagoa, the Chairman of the Correspondent’s Chapel, Comrade Kola Oredipe, and Secretary, Comrade Chris Eze, said the bill was unjustifiably high.
In a statement signed by the chapel officers, they expressed worry at the attitude of the PHEDC officials who are always anxious to disconnect debtors.
The journalists said: “Sometime in July this year, the office was disconnected and we decided not to pay for two months. Of course, we decided to rely solely on alternative power source since the public power source was rather irregular. But to our surprise, electricity bills were brought for the 2 months period that the office was without public power. By the time we visited the PHEDC Business Office in Yenagoa, we were told that we ought to have notified them that we would not use their source for that period. We were shocked more so that PHEDC should have record of houses/buildings disconnected.”
The statement further confirmed the inefficiency in PHEDC when the Correspondent’s chapel office was disconnected on Thursday, December 8, 2016 “despite the fact that we have cleared current bill and part of outstanding as directed.”
They further said: “When we met with the Yenagoa Business Manager on Monday, 12th December, 2016, to complain that the office was erroneously and ignorantly disconnected, he offered his apology and directed a senior officer to ensure immediate reconnection.
“One full week has passed without reconnection despite a reminder call to the Business Manager on Wednesday, 14th December, 2016.
“This is clearly a case of sheer insensitivity. We do hope that the office will not be billed for electricity not consumed from the 8th December, 2016.”
The statement called on the state government to protect the citizens from ongoing extortion in the name of bulk billing, estimated billing, unjustified disconnection, harassment of customers, and billing of a house that has been disconnected.
It particularly noted that some of the electricity consumers often complained of late response to clearing of faults, replacement of bad transformers by the distribution company and reconnection thereby making the customers lose trust in PHEDC.