From RAYMOND EJIKEME, Enugu
Residents of Igbo-Eze North Local Government Area of Enugu State who have been in darkness for about two months now, following the disconnection of 100 meters serving about 47 communities in the area, by Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC), have cried out for help from the appropriate authorities.
The distressed electric consumers in the sprawling 20-ward aggrarian local council appealed to the local, State and Federal governments to come to their aid, lamenting that power supply which was decidedly poor at the best of times in the area, has now now been totally cut, leaving the people with the expensive option of using generators to power their businesses and homes.
In particular, they have called on the Federal Government to investigate alleged fraudulent activities of Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC), which they accused of billing them outrageously without providing commensurate good services.
In a report published by an online news medium and made available to AbeyaNews, EEDC allegedly disconnected about 100 transformers in over 47 communities on June 25 this year, in an apparent bid to force electricity consumers in Igbo-Eze North to pay outrageous bills without providing them electricity.
According to the report, consumers whose transformers were not functional were also being made to pay outrageous estimated bills.
For instance, consumers at Amachalla, one of the densely populated autonomous communities in the area, said the “Unit One transformer at Umuezeaoli area stopped functioning since 2014, but EEDC had been sending outrageous estimated bills to them for power not consumed.
At Ugbaike, another densely populated community, the consumers said the transformer at At At Joseph’s Akamangbo, was not functional for over five years, forcing residents to spend about N740, O00 on its repairs with the promise from EEDC that the money would deducted from their bills.
One of the consumers who identified himself as Onuh Ugwu said EEDC, however, reneged on its promise “and instead threatened to prosecute us for repairing its property. They even inflated the N830,000 debt which we were owing before the problem started to N1. 2 million, meaning that we were illegally being debited when the transformer was dormant.”
At the Shehu Shagari Low Cost Housing Estate, consumers said that their transformer was vandalised and they had no electricity for over five months but that EEDC marketers who never came to repair the facility, surfaced when they contributed money to replace the armoured cables and took over the job for which they were paid over N70,000 as workmanship.
“Again, they charged us N10, 000 reconnection fees without issuing us with receipts.We had light for a few weeks and the bills jumped up by over 100 per cent before they cut it off finally on June 25, even when we paid N80,000 to them a day earlier. Since then, we have not had light,” a consumer, whose name was simply given as John said.
At Isiugwu, Etteh, Okpo, Ikpamodo, Onicha Elugwu, the stories were the same.
Consumers at Okpo said they had been without electricity since 2018, just as others said that their bills jumped from N60, 000, to N80,000, and then N400,000without appreciable improvement in services.
One Frederick Eke said consumers get the quantum of services they deserve in two weeks in a period of three or four months but billed higher for the poor services.
At Etteh none of the transformers is functional.
At Egu Ego, Umuopu, the residents said they were given outrageous bills for their transformer, which had not functioned in the last two years.
Accosted, Head of Media and Publicity at EEDC, Emeka Eze said Southeast Post he was informed by appropriate persons in the company that power was cut off because some of the transformers were malfunctioning and needed to be fixed.
He also said he was not aware that the consumers had been in darkness for over two months now for refusing to pay the outrageous bills issued them on or about June 25, 2020.