Arbitrary electricity bill is killing us, residents say

The residents of Lafia, the Nasarawa State capital, have expressed worries over ‘arbitrary’ electricity bills by the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company, AEDC.

The AEDC is one of the recently privatised electricity distribution companies. It supplies electricity to Abuja and Nasarawa State.

Consumers who spoke to PREMIUM TIMES after a forum in Lafia urged the state assembly to investigate the increase in electricity bills by almost 50 per cent monthly.

Ibrahim Saleh of Lungun Wambai said that his bill is increased by almost half of the previous month’s charges.

“Last month I paid N2,000; this month they brought N3,000,” he said.

Mohammed Usman of Low Cost Housing Estate also complained of similar problems, as well as of increase in charges without corresponding increase in electricity supplied.

“We continue to pay bills without power supply and they continue to increase the tariff and I have only three bulbs,” Mr. Usman said.

Many of the consumers said the electricity company hardly reads their metres (not prepaid), but brings arbitrary bills.

A consumer, John Odey, also accused the staff of the electricity company of working at odd hours.

“I was sleeping in my house around 6 a.m. in the morning when I heard somebody close to my metre. I woke up and saw the AEDC staff keeping a bill,” he said. “It is very wrong for the distribution at that hour with security challenges across the country; they can be mistaken for criminals.”

In his response at the first quarter 2014 customers’ consultative council meeting, Jonah Maha, the manager of Lafia Business District of AEDC, urged consumers to always demand proper identification from any staff of AEDC seen around electricity equipment.

He said this would guard against vandalism.

Mr. Maha also claimed that the power situation in the district had improved significantly and that the company had improved its billing system to address the complaints by consumers.

The official said some of the blackouts witnessed by consumers were caused by vandalism and illegal connections.

He added the company is owed over N1.2 billion by consumers in the Lafia Business District.

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