By Adejuwon Osunnuyi
The Eko Electricity Distribution Company, EKDC has been accused of allegedly conniving with the Excos of Lekki Gardens Phase 3, Lagos allowing them to supply and sell electricity to the residents at exorbitant rates.
An aggrieved resident, Clement Akpene made the allegation while tendering his complaints at the two-day Electricity Consumer Complaint Resolution Platform event organized by the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, FCCPC held in Surulere, Lagos recently.
The Excos, as they are called, are those charged with the responsibility of overseeing the affairs of the estate.
Akpene, who along with another resident, Mrs Aisha Usman, stormed the FCCPC event, said the Lekki Gardens Phase 3 residents have over the years been suffering from what they called “broad daylight extortion” by the Excos of the estate over power consumption.
The Excos, according to him, had taken over the responsibility of EKDC by selling power to them at exorbitant rates.
According to him, “While the Eko Disco approved N21.00 per kilowatt of electricity for members of the estate, the Excos bills each household N60.00 per kilowatt of electricity and makes remittance to Eko Disco”.
“As at now, they have even increased the tariff from N60 to N80 which is going to be effective from July 1.
Akpene noted that the minimum payment for electricity bill is N41,000 which gives 200 units. That means each resident spend close to N500,000 on electricity.
“Strangely enough, the complainant noted; “the meters, as programmed by them, (the Excos) run faster than the normal installation by the DISCOS. N41,000 light will give you 200 units and it would not last you up to a week.
While Akpene said the excos have been selling power supplied by EKDC for about five years till date, he noted they have disconnected several people in the last two years for missing payment.
“If you travelled for about six months, for instance and you missed the payment, when you return, you are expected to pay about N246,000 or get disconnected”, he lamented.
“What they do is that they have special tools which they used in removing EKDC from the estate and they forced us to be paying for power to them as a third party to EKDC.
“They have a special software they use in generating tokens just like EKDC does. They calibrate our meters not to work with EKDC installation but to work on their own installations so that they can be able to control, generate tokens that use on same meters. If you buy an EKDC unit, if you load it on those meters, they would not work.
Akpene, who said he hardly stays in the estate, as he works in Abuja, said he has been in darkness for about ten months as his power supply has been cut off by the Excos over indebtedness.
He said several attempts to see that justice is done over the years have not been yielding fruits as EKDC has always referred them back to the executives of the estate telling them to go and settle with them.
According to him, though in one of their meetings with EKDC, the Excos were told to revert to government tariff, but till this date, they have refused.
“I have made complaints to EKDC, they never replied, and when they even replied, they would tell me and other residents to go and comply with the excos . This is against human rights.”
“During one of the meetings we had on 21 January in Marina, with EKDC, the NERC which flew in from Abuja told the excos that they do not have any licence to sell or distribute power to the residents.”
However, while responding to Clement’s barrage of complaints, the EKDC’s lawyer, who said the case is already in court, said the Disco was working on the matter.
He explained that the difference of what the members of the estate were paying is for the maintenance of the Estate generator and purchase of diesel.
Mrs Usman, on her part, said by living in an estate should not mean she does not have right to have access to government’s approved electricity tariff.
“Are we living in another country? Why would other Nigerians would be paying a particular tarrif for electricity and we would be paying higher?,” Usman asked rhetorically.
Reacting to the development, the FCCPC Executive Vice Chairman/CEO, Mr Babatunde Irukera said the scheme by the estate was wrong as he insisted that there should not be middle men between consumers and DISCOS.
He, however, promised that the issue of the Lekki Garden Estate would soon be resolved.
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