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Lagos residents protest against estimated billing, demand prepaid meters

Residents of Jakande Estate, Ejigbo, Lagos State on Sunday staged a peaceful protest against Ikeja Electric (IE)

Residents of Jakande Estate, Ejigbo, Lagos State on Sunday staged a peaceful protest against Ikeja Electric (IE), in the area over high estimated billing system the community has been getting. They also claimed that the six months period given to the company by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to give over 3,000 customers prepaid meters has elapsed without the meters delivered to them.

Addressing journalists, leader of the Estate Youth Parliament (EYP), Yusuf Adeyemi, said the NERC had on May 24, 2018 ordered IE to meter every customer in the estate within six months, which elapsed on November 24. A copy of the NERC’s ruling was made available to The Guardian.

He stated that the electricity distribution company had, instead of heeding the order of the regulatory agency, wrote back to the community that it would not be able to meter the community until 2019.

In the response letter, IE claimed that the inadequate power supply to the community was due to limited allocation from Transmission Company on Nigeria (TCN).

It also claimed that its unmetered customers were billed based on supply availability in line with NERC’s approved estimated billing methodology.

However, residents claimed they were overbilled with estimated billing system and they would not henceforth pay for electricity until they are given prepaid meters. “We are shutting down payment as from today until they bring prepaid meters for us,” Adeyemi said.

Also speaking, the NEPA chairman of the community, Mr. Tajudeen Gbolahan Lawal, said he has been engaging IE on the matter for more than three years without any positive response. He said the community could not take it any more, urging the company to come and remove its wires from the community if it would not meter them, adding that that other communities under IE’s network have been metered and are paying less while they are charged more than what is consumed.

In another development, residents of Yusuf Street in Orile-Oshodi area of Lagos State have called on IE to restore their power after over three months of darkness. It was gathered that some residents reportedly assaulted an Ikeja Electric official while trying to access a transformer sited on the street, which led to their being disconnected from the grid.

According to a resident who pleaded for anonymity, the IE official was accosted by some residents while attempting to work on the transformer serving seven streets at about 12noon. When questioned by residents, the official said he only came to check some things in the transformer.

It was gathered that at about 4:00p.m. on the same day, the official returned to work on the transformer, claiming that some wires needed to be fixed. But he was denied access to the transformer on his second visit.

The altercation led to the disconnection of power to the affected seven streets connected for three months.

After several meetings between community leaders and IE, it was resolved that an undertaken be written, signed by representatives from each streets and the CDA chairman to forestall a future occurrence of assault.

A consensus was reached for power to be restored. But weeks after the consensus, residents still await power.

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