Electricity consumers in the North-Central states of the federation have decried the “outrageous bills” they receive from power distribution companies, saying the billing system is “too harsh” on them.
Some of them, who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Plateau, Benue, Niger, and Taraba states, said the situation was particularly “annoying” because there was no commensurate power supply to match the high bills.
“I hardly get four hours of power supply in three days, but I am always asked to cough out thousands of naira at the end of the month,” Mrs Mary Pam, a widow, who lives in Hwolshe, in Jos metropolis, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
She described the bills as “very crazy”, saying she had tried in vain to get officials of the Jos Electricity Distribution Company (JEDC) to check the trend.
“I live in a one-bedroom apartment; I have just one television set and a fridge.
“I use energy saving bulbs in my house, yet I am charged between N4000 to 5000 every month, even with the epileptic power supply,” she lamented.
She said that she had very often visited JEDC’s Rwang Pam office without luck.
“I have asked them to give me a prepaid meter so that I will pay for only what I consume, but the story is always the same,’’ she said.
Philemon Achi, a banker, who resides in Jenta-Adamu area of Jos, has a similar complaint:
“The issue of outrageous bills I get every month is saddening; clearly, I know that I don’t consume one tenth of the electricity I am charged for,” he told NAN in Jos.
He called on the management of JEDC to work out a strategy where those without meters would be moderately charged so as not to create doubt over the integrity of the power distribution firm.
Mr Eze Chuka, a resident of Bukuru Lowcost housing, said that the act of estimated billing was a “very wicked one”.
“Consumers, who are without meters are made to pay for what they do not consume.
“The act of estimated billing is wicked; you pay far more than the electricity supplied to your line.
“I live in a five-bedroom flat. Before I received my prepaid meter, I was charged between N9,000 and N12,000 monthly.
“In the months that we experienced epileptic power supply, I was charged either N8,000 or N9,000.
“But since I obtained my prepaid meter, the highest I have vended is N5,000, which takes me through two months even when I still use all the appliances I was using when my bill was being estimated,” he said.
He, therefore, called on the JEDC management to work out a reasonable way of charging people who do not have meters.
The situation was found to be the same in Minna, with consumers accusing the electricity supply companies of massive exploitation.
Mrs Simi Adams, a hairdresser, who operates close to the Federal Government College, Minna, said that her shop had no meter and that she was usually charged between N 10,000 and N 15,000 monthly.
“The electricity distribution company is very unfair in its billing system.
“Because I run a saloon, they assume that I consume a lot of power.
“I just wish they could give me a prepaid meter so that I will pay for only what I consume,” she said.
She expressed dismay that the massive charges have had an adverse effect on her business.
“Because of the bills, I hardly make much profit because most of what I get goes to the payment of utility bills.”
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