IBEDC extorts consumers in Ogun communities

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..hikes electricity tariff

By Seun David, Aderemi Olamilekan,  Obadina Moshood

Customers of Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC) in Gas line-Ijoko, Ogun state protested during the week over hike in electric tariff amid severe economy.

They alleged that staff of the company were giving out bills according to the beauty of the houses, not considering the units of electricity consumed daily.

They further alleged that the company’s tariff continued to soar whenever the communities complained of excess charges, noting that the new management of the company was extorting the communities.

Our correspondents discovered that staff of the company in an attempt to disconnect some communities were attacked which led to the IBEDC in Sango to use military men to disconnect their power from the transformer as the affected communities vowed not to pay their bills.

Speaking with Nigerian NewsDirect, a landlord in the community and a retired soldier Mr. Akinloye, said IBEDC staff in Sango are frustrating the landlords in the communities, maintaining that tariff on power consumption continued to increase monthly.

He added that the company brought high bills lately that most land lands cannot afford to pay.

He disclosed further to our correspondents that the amount allocated to his house in July was N18,000 but increased to N26,000 in August.

According to him, “they brought the amount of N18,000.00 last month. I complained but I was told that they will make amendment. For August the following month, I was given N26,000.00 which he believed that the IBEDC are giving out bills according to the beauty of the house.”

Another landlord in the community, Mrs. Ajewole said staff of IBEDC came along with soldiers last Friday as communities had already attacked staff of the company.

She explained that the public relations officer of the Community Development Area (CDA) had complained that they can only afford N5,000 monthly but  they were surprised that the bills keep increasing monthly.

They however urged regulating bodies and the federal government to attend to hike in tariff, considering the nation’s economy.

In a response, a senior staff workers of the company in Sango explained to Nigerian NewsDirect that the company’s recent due diligence disclosed that consumers in the affected areas were cheating the IBDEC.

The regional head, Ogun IBEDC, Engr. Olayinka Oyinloye in a telephone chat with Nigerian NewsDirect, said the distributing company had engaged the communities but the outcome yielded negative responses.

He noted that the peaceful engagement turned brutal, forcing the Sango IBEDC to use solders to shut down affected communities’ transformers.

In his words, “We have been on this issue since Monday. The communities had complained of hike in power bills we give to them.

“Our officers had meeting with them on the change in bills on Tuesday. The meeting was peaceful but later turned into a fight and one of our staff was attacked.

“We concluded that this is a business we operate. Since we had engaged the communities but they refused, we decided to shut down their transformers.

“Not that we harassed anybody with soldiers. Our aim was to use soldiers to protect our staff that shut down those transformers.

“The person that was managing Sango IBEDC was a banker. The issue of billing customers on a clusters   billing per average was not done diligently

“We find out that customers on 11 KVA that hardly use light for three hours were paying N5,000. Why will somebody on 33 KVA that uses 20 hours of light be paying bill of N7,000 ?,” he questioned.

A senior staff workers of the company explained to our correspondent that supply of prepaid meters might cost the company a fortune, stressing that high interest rate and depreciation in foreign exchange contribute to the company’s inability to supply prepaid meters to its customers.

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