Re-metering exercise, crazy bills: Southeast has suffered enough in your hands, Izunwanne tells EEDC

Posted by News Express | 11 January 2020 | 868 times

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•Prepaid meters

Izunwanne, a forum of journalists of Southeast origin of Nigeria, has vehemently condemned what it called surreptitious tariff increase in the Southeast zone by the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC) through the removal of standalone meters, describing it as unacceptable.

It noted that “unless the DISCO mends its ways and very fast too, we shall be constrained to demand that the relevant authorities revoke its license and hand it over to a more serious, efficient and competent organisation.”

In a press statement on Thursday signed by its Convener, Sir Abuchi Anueyiagu, and Secretary, Elder Ngwuoke Ngwuoke, Izunwanne stated that it has observed with dismay, the “untold hardship electricity consumers in the Southeast zone are subjected to.”

However, EEDC rationalised the exercise while stating in statement in Enugu by its Communications Manager, Mr. Emeka Ezeh, that the action was necessitated by the integrated system upgrade it embarked on, and the increasing difficulty in providing support for the card reader system used in vending these meters.

“Consequently, EEDC could no longer provide support for the vending system that allows customers using the standalone meters to recharge their meters.

“In total, less than 40,000 customers are affected, while EEDC has in recent times metered over 250,000 customers within the last three years.”

But the journalists noted that the hardship of those affected “has been further aggravated by the sudden decision of EEDC to discontinue the use of standalone prepaid meters in the zone.

“That by this decision, EEDC is forcing millions of public electricity consumers using prepaid meters to fill prescribed forms by which they purportedly empower EEDC marketers to return to the wicked and outrageous estimated billing method of collecting revenue, which had long been rejected because of its inherent arbitrariness and exploitation of the consumers.

“That even though the estimated billing method, according to EEDC, will only be in place until the MAP meters are available, we find it difficult to believe the EEDC on this because we are very much aware that thousands of customers who applied for the MAP meters over two years now are yet to be supplied with any unit of the device.

“That besides the tactical delay, which we know the supply of the new meters will suffer, we are uncomfortable with the fact that when it is finally available if at all it will be, public electricity consumers in the Southeast zone will be made to pay a whopping N39, 000 for a unit of the so-called new smart meters.

“That we have it on good authority that there is nothing wrong with the standalone meters, except that EEDC decided to discontinue its use in order to make more profits. Allegations that some consumers bypass the standalone meters and steal electricity, hence the covert reason to phase out the standalone meters, do not hold any water but only underscores the incompetence and inefficiency of EEDC in handling electricity distribution because a competent and efficient organisation given such responsibility as EEDC ought to have the technical know-how and capability to checkmate such alleged infractions in their system.

“That the meter crisis by EEDC is compounding an already debilitating perennial energy crisis which EEDC has inflicted on consumers in the Southeast zone due to its inefficiency and incompetence.

“That in the light of the foregoing, we call on the EEDC to reverse forthwith its obnoxious decision on standalone prepaid meters and maintain the status quo ante.

“That if, indeed, there is need to migrate to a new metering system, EEDC must issue enough notice to consumers, followed by visits to homes to remove the standalone prepaid meters and replace them with the new ones, free of charge, as was done by the defunct PHCN when prepaid metering system was introduced.

“That we are disappointed that a DISCO, supposedly owned and operated by a southeasterner, rather than work towards improving the power supply/distribution situation in the Southeast zone is deliberately exploiting and impoverishing the people the more, ostensibly in a selfish bid to maximize profits.

“That we note with dismay that no effort seems to have been made so far to improve the facilities for electricity distribution in the zone since the privatisation of public electricity distribution and supply.

“That the Southeast geo-political zone is easily the only zone with such poor, nonchalant investor attitude to their obligations to electricity consumers anywhere in Nigeria and that is unacceptable to us in Izunwanne.

“That while EEDC's overly disdain for consumers in the Southeast rankles, it is, even more annoying,  only a pernicious cover-up for its incompetence and inefficiency, which make the company unworthy of such an important national assignment as a DISCO catering to the power needs of a vibrant population as that of the Southeast zone.

“That unless the DISCO mends its ways and very fast too, we shall be constrained to demand that the relevant authorities revoke its license and hand it over to a more serious, efficient and competent organisation.

“That electricity consumers in the Southeast  geo-political zone have suffered enough in the hands of EEDC as a DISCO and we as journalists who see, hear, know and understand what is going on in the society have taken it upon ourselves to say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.”

Izunwanne is a forum of journalists of Southeast of Nigeria origin, both practising and retired. It is a non-partisan, non-religious and non-profit making organisation. Its members, spread across different parts of the country and the world (in various fields of endeavour, such as Law, Politics, Public Relations/Advertising, Broadcasting, Book/Newspaper Publishing to Online Blogging, business, etc).

As part of its mandate, the group said it is determined and committed to working and helping the Southeast zone to grow and develop.



Source: News Express

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