By Sebastine Obasi
Some Lagos residents under the aegis of Ikate Community Development Area, CDA, have complained of neglect and poor services by the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, in the area.
In a petition to the Business Manager, PHCN Orile Business District, dated April 12, 2013, which was obtained by Vanguard, the residents decried the failure of PHCN to deploy pre-paid meters in the area, deliberate refusal to read old meters, distribution of outrageous bills, and erratic supply of electricity due to the recent connection of 16 additional streets to the Babalola feeder.
According to the community, their leaders met with the management of the District in 2012, on the deployment of pre-paid meters, and it was agreed that PHCN would distribute same. The distribution commenced in June 2012, but only a few houses were given the pre-paid meters, whilst the larger parts of the community are yet to get the meters.
Upon enquiries, they were informed that PHCN had to stop the distribution of the meters due to a directive from above. However, the management promised that the marketing officers would do physical reading of the old meters to accurately determine the actual amount consumed.
Contrary to the agreement, the community alleged that the marketing officers refused to do physical reading of the houses with the old meters, but goes about entering the houses of residents to count their appliances, makes monetary demands on residents with threats of disconnection.
The community also alleged that PHCN continued to distribute bills on an incremental basis without reading the meters. They argued that under the new tariff, the new rate should be N12.87 for one unit of energy, and as such, the highest consumption for an average residential building cannot exceed 400 units of energy in a month, which amounts to N5,148 including the N500.00 monthly fixed charge and value added tax, VAT.
The residents also accused PHCN of the failure to provide regular or constant power supply to back up the outrageous bills being distributed. For example, in the month of March 2013, the aggregate of power supply was less than 50 hours. “Yet PHCN comes up with bills of over N10,000 per consumer living in areas where electricity supply had been abysmally erratic,” they claimed.
The residents said they currently depend heavily on the use of generators, and so find it absurd that the PHCN should serve them with outrageous bills.
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