Lokoja Electricity Consumers Decry Epileptic Power Supply, Outrageous Bills

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Some electricity consumers in Lokoja, Kogi, on Friday decried the epileptic power supply and outrageous billing by Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC).
In separate comments at a day-three of the 3rd Annual Kogi Built Environment and Building Materials (BEBM) Exhibition in Lokoja, the residents expressed displeasure over the estimated billing by the AEDC in spite the incessant power outage in the confluence city.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the morning session of the day three of the event was tagged: ‘AEDC DAY’ with the theme: “The Roles of Community in Electricity Distribution”.
The theme sought to make special expository on the implication of electricity theft and vandalisation, supportive roles of community of  the service of AEDC, electricity metering and estimated billing in Nigeria.
Mr Tony Ojile, the General Manager, Jakura Marble Ind. Ltd, Lokoja, said that the AEDC has not been given satisfactory service to the electricity consumers, saying that they have not done well at all.
According to him, inefficiency of AEDC is really affecting the manufacturing companies badly; as I talk to you we do not have electricity supply for more than two hours per day in our company area.
He added “Our major challenge in Jakura Marble Industry is non-availability of electricity. We urge the management of AEDC to go back to the drawing board, gear up and do the needful to improve on their services”.
Mr Ibraheems Yahaya, Chairman Kabawa Community, said frequent power outage has become a norm in their community, saying he has taken his time to calculate how many hours they used to have light per month.
“We only have light for 240 hours out of the 720 hours per month, which is equivalent to 10 days out of 30 days in a month. Yet AEDC still brings exorbitant bills as high as N7, 000 to N10, 000 for a household per month.
“As a community, we have vowed to only pay for what we think we have consumed irrespective of any amount the AEDC brings to us as monthly bill,” Yahaya said.
A resident of Gadumo area, Joseph Adejoh, said that the AEDC should stop estimated billing and make prepaid meters available to the consumers in order to have value for their money.
He also advised the electricity distribution company to ensure that they read and record the accurate readings on the Analog meters instead of estimation.
Another consumer, Babatunde Owolabi, a resident of Felele area, said that in spite of the incessant power supply in their area, disconnection was ongoing on daily basis.
“It is so sad that AEDC will disconnect your light and go away with your wire, but by the time you settle your bills including reconnection fee, AEDC staff will force you to collect different substandard wire that is not yours,” he said.
Atabor Ocholi, the Chairman of Harmony community, Old Poly Quarter, lamented how the community contributed money to buy transformer, and AEDC still charge them for installation and maintenance without steady electricity.
Mr Silas Arungbemi, a resident of Fourth Republic, Meme River, said that the idea of AEDC bringing exorbitant estimated bills and asking the affected customers to pay what they have instead of rectifying the crazy bill, was very unfortunate and unacceptable.
Mr Jibril Anwal, from Adankolo area, said that the AEDC was not giving service to consumers as expected, stressing that it had crippled economic activities in the area which had  made life unbearable for them.
He urged the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to monitor activities in the sector to ensure quality service delivery to the people.
Responding, Mr Garuba Maani, the Regional Manager, AEDC Kogi Zone, commended the organisers of the program for the initiative, saying that the AEDC was concerned about the plight of the people and appealed to the consumers for more patient.
Maani, who was represented by Mr Salihu Ali, OME, blamed the epileptic electricity supply in Lokoja to the drop in allocation from the national grid.
According to him, stakeholders in electricity supply begins with Generation to Transmission to Distribution and finally to Consumers; we only have power over what is given to us to distribute.
He apologised to the consumers and promised improvement, adding that the AEDC was working vigorously for additional installations such as two Injection-substations to ensure steady electricity.
Maani warned the consumers not to patronise any person who claimed to be AEDC staff without his or her Identification card, stressing that there were many impersonation.
Earlier, Mr Oladipo Bayode, the Executive Director, BEBM Exhibition, said that the exhibition was a gathering of tradesmen, consumers, manufacturers and suppliers of building materials, government, private practitioners and policy makers.
He urged the participants to feel free to ask any question bothering on the supply of electricity in their areas so as to get proper clarification.

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