Some electricity consumers in Dada Asaila Estate in Ogun State on Wednesday protested against outrageous billing by Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company.
“No to estimated billing, No to high tariff, No meter, no payment for electricity” were some of the inscriptions on banners of the protesters.
The residents told the News Agency of Nigeria during the peaceful protest that they were mobilising against the utility company which had “turned deaf ear to our cries”.
A Community leader, Alhaji Azeez Ajani, accused IBEDC of being inconsiderate for sending outrageous bills to consumers.
Azeez alleged that the company sent estimated bills of N15,000 to each resident occupying two-bedroom flats last month even without electricity supply for over three weeks.
He said: “We are being charged between N13,500 and N15,000 on monthly basis.
“This is outrageous in spite of non-supply of power in the area.”
The community leader also expressed worry over refusal by the company to install prepaid meters to them even when many had already paid for them.
Idiat Salami, the Proprietress of Divine Scholars Academy, also appealed to IBEDC to reduce its monthly electricity charges, saying: “It is currently standing at N15,000.”
Salami said N15,000 was even higher than some residents’ salaries, adding: “You cannot expect them to work for a whole month and give their salary out to Electricity Company.”
She said many residents were interested in buying prepaid meters, but the company was unable to supply the ones already paid for.
Olubunmi Abioye said she shared the N15,000 electricity bill with her co-tenant for an apartment they were paying N4,000 monthly rent.
Abioye said: “So, will I need electricity if I don’t have accommodation? How can electricity bill be higher than my house rent.”
NAN gathered that a number of the consumers had paid N30,000 each for the prepaid meter and were yet to collect it in the last eight months.
Angela Olanrewaju, the Head of Communications in IBEDC, said Dada Asiala Estate was located within Ota business hub, which received supply from 33kv feeder with supply for 600 hours monthly.
Olanrewaju said the taskforce had a week ago stumbled on the community and disconnected the transformer for non-payment.
According to her, the community members visited IBEDC and it was discovered that about 50 per cent of the consumers within the substation could not produce bills.
Olanrewaju said: “The tradition in Ota is that because communities construct their substation through self-help, they charge whoever wants to be connected to the substation connection fee to enable them recoup the cost expended on the construction without having recourse to IBEDC.
“The consumers with bills were reconnected while those without bills were charged loss of revenue and their information gathered for capturing in April billing month.”
Olanrewaju said some of the residents were still coming to BEDC to pay loss of revenue to have their supply reconnected as at March 28.
She said: “The billing amount per consumer will reduce drastically from the billing in April.”
It will recall that NERC had warned that it would sanction any company that failed to meter electricity consumers on their networks after February 28.
The commission had made it clear that defaulting DISCOs would be sanctioned from March 1.