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Nwachukwu Wants EEDC Sacked From Abia State

A renowned company director, Dr. Mayor Nwachukwu of Godfy Towers Nigeria Limited has called for the proscription of Enugu Electricity Distribution Company in Abia State over its inability to supply power. Nwachukwu made the call in Aba recently while making a contribution during a one day mega seminar on “Electricity Consumers Rights and Obligations”organized by Joint Action Group and attended by professional bodies, labour union leaders, market leaders, youths, civil servants and artisans, where issues bothering on crazy and outrageous bills,illegal disconnection,intimidation by EEDC staff and absence of electricity in some parts of Aba, Abia State were discussed. Dr.Nwachukwu lamented that for over one year now, he has not had electricity in his residence yet receives and pays bill every month.He decried Nigerian Electricity and Regulatory Commission for not doing enough to enlighten the public on their rights as electricity consumers.According to him, the EEDC is just out to milk consumers as nothing has changed since it came into the Power industry.He said, “they occupy the same office as National Electric Power Authority (NEPA) the same office as Power Holding Company of Nigeria(PHCN) and now as EEDC” He suggested that electricity consumers in Aba should match and inform the government of the day about the sufferings consumers are passing through. He said the issue of non-provision of electricity supply, adversely affects the overall economy and production capacity of the state in general and Aba in particular. “What EEDC staff do in Aba is to make money for those in charge and allow the poor masses to suffer the consequences, but when we match to the government functionaries, we will tell them all their atrocities” he concluded. Earlier in his key note address,the secretary, Joint Action Group,Chief Ike Opigwe said the group is a non –profit advocacy body that provides an enabling environment for the education of electricity consumers on their right as guaranteed by the Electricity Power Sector Reform(EPSR) Act 2005 and National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) guideline,directive and methodology which include but not limited to the following: billing methodology,connection, disconnection procedure and rights to certified standard prepaid meter. Mr.Odu Obot,a Deputy Superintendent of Police, who represented Abia State Commissioner of Police, thanked the organizers of the seminar and said if all activities are handled this way;the police will have less job to do. He revealed that Abia State Police Command is tackling the problem of vandalization of electricity materials by creating Electricity Consumers Team to tackle all criminal activities against the provision of electricity in Abia state. Mr. Ezeocha Peter, National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) Representative in charge of Ebonyi State, gave an overview of Electricity Sector Power Reform .He said the Commission (NERC) is empowered by the Electric Power Sector Reform (EPSR) Act, 2005, to ensure an efficiently managed electricity supply industry that meets the yearnings of Nigerians for stable, adequate and safe electricity supply. According to him the Act mandates the Commission to ensure that electricity Operators recover costs on prudent investment and provide quality service to customers. In a lecture on “ Overview of Consumers’ Rights and Obligations” delivered by Comrade Anele Jacobs, he said “ it is pertinent that electricity customers know their rights which include that a new electricity connections must be done strictly based on metering before connection. That is, no new customer should be connected by a DisCo without a meter first being installed at the premises” According to him, consumers have the right to electricity supply in a safe and reliable manner; a properly installed and functional meter; a right to transparent electricity billing and also that all un-metered customers should be issued with electricity bills strictly based on NERC’s estimated billing methodology. He said consumers should be notified in writing ahead of disconnection of electricity service by the DisCo serving the customer in line with NERC’s guidelines; refund when over billed and to report the issue to the NERC Forum Office within the coverage area of the DisCo. Consumers have the right to appeal against the decision if not satisfied and any un-metered customer who is disputing his or her estimated bill has the right not to pay the disputed bill, but pay only the last undisputed bill as the contested bill go through the dispute resolution process of NERC. “It is not the responsibility of electricity customer or community to buy, replace or repair electricity transformers, poles and related equipment used in the supply of electricity” he added .However, he said consumers are under obligation to pay bills for electricity consumed and provide requirements for connection as stipulated by NERC and DisCo. And also to ensure that meters and other electrical equipment within your premises belonging to the DisCo are not tampered with, or by-passed and consumers should notify the DisCo serving you of any tampering or bypass of electricity installations. In an exclusive chat with the Chairman, Abia State Civil Society Network (ASCON) Comrade Cassius Ukwugbe, he decried the crazy bills and epileptic electric supply in Aba that has touched everybody and said the messages should be taken to the appropriate authorities and solution proffered once and for all. According to him, high billings have continued to be a source of worry to many Electricity Consumers in Abia state. He called on the Federal Government to revisit its power privatization policy to check the exploitation of Nigerians by Power Distribution Companies. He said”Aba residents have made their feelings known in the area of over – estimated billings by the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company and something should be done.. In his contribution, the Chairman Hotel Proprietors Association, Aba, Chief Godwin Egbuchulam, revealed that hotels will soon sack some of their staff due to high electricity billing in Aba. According to him the cost of running hotels has increased in recent time as a result of fast consumption rate of prepaid meter. A book on Rights and Obligations of Electricity Consumers authored by Chief Ike Opigwe and reviewed by Dr. Mike Iheukwumere was presented to participants. The book; a must read by all electricity consumers, was described by Dr. Iheukwumere as the ‘Bible’ of electricity consumption. The seminar had in attendance notable Nigerians including: the Chairman Joint Action Group-Dr. Mike Iheukwumere, DSP Odu Obot, who represented the Abia state Commissioner for Police, Secretary, Joint Action Group-Chief Ike Opigwe, National Electricity Regulatory Commission(NERC) Ebonyi State Representative-Mr. Ezeocha Peter,Chairman, Hotel Proprietors Association-Chief Godwin Egbuchulam, Chairman, Abia State Civil Society Network-Comrade Cassius Ukwugbe,Comrade Anele Jacobs, Chairman, NASSI-Amb. Darlington Kalu, Manager, Hotel De L’s Paix-Mrs Celestina Asiegbu and others.

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