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‘ Electricity Tariffs Are Higher Than Our House Rents’, Lagosians Protest Abnormal Bills

Valentine Chinyem

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Apparently frustrated by the ‘crazy bills’ given to them by the Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company (IKDC), residents of Ikeja, Today staged a protest to express their displeasure over exorbitant electricity tariff which they described to be more expensive than their house rents per month.

They have been swallowing the bitter pills, paying part of the expensive amount charged by the electricity company despite lack of adequate power supply.

Residents of Seriki Aro Street, Anifowose, Kosdesho Streets were in their houses, some who are traders and artisans were in their shops when officials of the IKDC arrived the area to disconnect residents who are owing.

In a swift reaction, the community development area executives mobilized members of the area to protest the huge tariff being charged by the company.

Traders, businessmen, women, community leaders marched peacefully with placards, chanting: “enough is enough, no more cra’y bills, give us meter, no more estimated bills’’ and singing anti oppressive songs.

Arriving at the IKDC headquarters in Alausa, Ikeja, they were addressed by an official of the company who identified himself as Mr Ayeni.

The angry protester immediately told Mr. Ayeni to put a call through to their officials who were at the time on the street, disconnecting their houses from electricity to stop immediately, else they will unleash terror on them.

Ayeni obliged, I’ll call them to stop the disconnection, he told the angry protesters.

Speaking with our correspondent, Olayinka Omololu, a business owner, said the electricity company charged her complex N1.7million for a year, which they managed to pay eight hundred thousand naira. A copy of the bill and the payment receipt of the said amount were shown to our correspondent.

Many of them brought their electricity bills for different months as far back as eight months ago to show evidence of the astronomical increase in the tariff and to lodge their complaints over the irregularities.

One of the protesters who choose not to give his name said, his apartment was paying N5,000 before but last month the electricity company gave them an ‘inflated bill’of 15,000 and presently they just received a bill of N35,000.

“We were still trying to pay N15, 000, when we received another bill of N35,000, an increment of over 100 per cent, how can we pay that? He queried.

The protesters who spoke to our correspondence in turns questioned why a small shop will be billed N35,000 a month, they said this is beyond what they can afford.

Another elderly woman believed to be in her sixties, Alhaja Adeniran, said: “last month, they brought a bill of N18,000 for six rooms, when I complained, they said they will do something about it but this month again they brought a bill of N22,000.

Alhaja Adeniran further revealed that before the inauguration of President Muhammadu Buahri on May 29, the six rooms were charged only N8,000 as their electricity tariff for a month but according to her things changed after Buhari took over with ‘abnormal’ and inflated charges of N22,000 for a month. “We can’t pay that” the aged woman insisted.

Mr. Ayeni, an official of the company, obviously without solution to the billing and metering of houses said the management will look into the matter while urging the protester to be calm and that the issue will be resolved.

He said the company will ask its officials to look into some of the bills of the area and see to genuine grievances of the people on estimated and abnormal bills.

(Talk Glits)