Residents of Santos, Onilekere, Onipetesi, Valley and Punch Estates in Alimosho and Ikeja Local Government Areas of Lagos had protested what they termed “exploitation and outrageous billing” by the Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company (IKEDC).
The protesters, who brandished placards with various inscriptions such as: “No prepaid meter, No payment”, “Evil thrives under darkness, give us light”, “Enough of one day on, two of days off”, “Replacing 15MVA Transformer with 7MVA is not acceptable,” among others.
They called on IKEDC to urgently address their plights or risk more protest actions.
Dressed in black clothes to express the state of black out that has continuously thrown the communities into quandary, the aggrieved protesters alleged that IKEDC staff kept bringing estimated bills despite being in black out for over 12 months.
“It has become so bad that they give us estimated billings, they bring outrageous bills, there is a situation of five houses having a problem of total damage of electric cable yet they kept bringing bills as high as N13,000 monthly. So we are saying enough of this, if there is no power, we won’t pay. We can’t be paying for sunshine,” Chairman, Valley Estate Residents’ Association, Mike Urubusi said, adding “If we cannot get power, then there shouldn’t be any billing coming to our estates. We have been here several times, we have written series of letters to them and they have continually lied to us telling us there’s a transformer they are bringing from Epe. Later they say they are going to import transformers to areas affected and install a new one at Mangoro substation.”
He alleged that IKEDC has refused to attend to the jaded transformer at Mangoro since January which serves a whole stretch of communities with an estimated 350,000 population according to 2006 census figures.
“The transformer that broke down at Mangoro is 15MVA and what they’re bringing now is 7.5 MVA. How can 7.5MVA serve that stretch of communities,” Urubusi queried.
He said the non-provision of pre-paid meters to the electricity consumers in the communities by IKEDC has led to exploitation of residents in the area through estimated billings which does not commensurate with the actual power consume by consumers.
Another resident who simply identified himself as Amaechi said: “less than 5 per cent of houses in the communities have been provided with prepaid meters. We have written letters and dialogued with them, yet nothing has changed, we had to resort to this to drive home our demands.”
Tosin Bada, a resident of Santos estate, said: “They put us on one-day on and two-day off (power shedding arrangement), which I have never heard of anywhere in Lagos state. Even during ‘On days’ we don’t get up to 4 hours of electricity supply.”
The development, he said, has forced many residents to move out of the estates and “has largely contributed to redundancy among artisans and business owners in the communities as many have lost huge fortunes to the menace of power outage running into months.”
IKEDC Head of Corporate Communications Felix Ofulue, said the issue will be address appropriately.
“They have promised to officially send in their demands to Ikeja Electric. When that is done, we will address the issues appropriately. Protest is not a suitable method to resolve issues. Their issues will be addressed in a proper manner,” he said.Log in or Register to save this content for later.