As tensions between people of the Southeast and Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC) rage, a Pan-Igbo group, Ndi-Igbo United Forum has reiterated its call on people of the region not to allow the replacement of their existing meters by the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC).
Electricity consumers in the Zone woke to multiple challenges of inability to recharge their prepaid meters, removal of alleged obsolete meters, compulsory migration to estimated billings and mandatory payment of #39,000 and #78,000 for standalone and double meters respectively.
Worried by the trend, the NUF had met with the EEDC over the challenges on the 8th of January, the outcome of which did not reflect the expectations of the people, hence a region-wide protest on the 27th of January, 2020.
The protest was followed with a 7-day ultimatum for EEDC to address the challenges or face further punitive actions.
Following these developments, the Nigerian Electricity Regulation Commission (NERC) summoned a meeting inviting the EEDC, the NUF, and government representatives at Enugu to mediate on the matter.
Addressing newsmen on the outcome of the meeting, the acting President General of the NUF, Chief Goddy Ezenagu said the NERC asked the EEDC to immediately discontinue the decommissioning (removal) of existing meters and to replace removed meters within one week of notification at no cost.
According to him, when this is done, customers will start recharging and end estimated billings.
He spoke further on the outcome of the meeting.
“Customers in the Southeast that do not have meters at all before now or for new properties/buildings, must go for meter and pay for their consumptions. Go and apply for your meters today and take advantage of spaced payment over 24 months if you can’t pay once under the MAP initiative. The standalone meter is N39, 000. This will guarantee you access to recharge your meters and do away with estimated billing which is a contentious issue today.
“EEDC and NUF were asked to synergize for enhanced communication and monitoring of EEDC field staff and report violations to EEDC for better service delivery. A joint committee will be formed to actualize this. NERC also sued for peace in the Southeast. In the event of infractions, NUF as the true representatives of the people (consumers) was empowered to formally report to NERC. In view of the above, NUF wishes to reemphasize by asking people without meter to go and apply for meters while those with the meter should not allow any EEDC staff to remove their meters. While protecting our rights, let’s endeavor to be good customers. Those with existing issues of over-billing should explore areas of settlements or may inform us for assistance. We wish to thank NERC for her prompt intervention,” Ezenagu said.
Meanwhile, the Management of Enugu Electricity Distribution PLC (EEDC) has declared its intention to suspend the standalone meter decommissioning exercise until smarter prepaid meters are procured to complete the swapping exercise.
This information was made known by the Head of Communications, EEDC, Mr. Emeka Ezeh in Enugu, today.
According to Ezeh, with this development, customers whose meters are yet to be decommissioned can visit any of the designated vending points located at select District Offices to recharge their meters.
The select locations are Awkunanaw, Abakpa, Awka, Onitsha, Owerri, New Owerri, and Nnewi district offices.