Ibadan Disco’s poor services and outrageous bills

It was emotional devastation galore for the people of Ogbomoso when Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company [IBEDC], the new owner of PHCN Oyo Business Unit, stepped out with their wrong foot. Their subtle prevarication notwithstanding, IBEDC came out with what electricity consumers on their network should be expecting as slash and burn billing system.

Before the conclusion of privatization exercise, PHCN was known for slapdash and inept service delivery with crazy and reprehensible bills. So many times, they forced their spurious bills on the laps of hapless customers with little or no resistance. When government finally handed over PHCN to the distribution companies (Discos), the masses heaved a sigh of relief, hoping that the era of paying outrageous bills are over, and that there will be efficiency in service delivery. But to our chagrin, it’s like moving from frying pan to fire within their short time in operation, as if government sold us out into total blackout and slavery under IBEDC.

Of particular mention are some notable incidences in Ogbomoso area, where for some months there was power outage. In December 2013, and January 2014 notably, power supply was almost nil.
When their marketers brought the bill for January, my previous balance was N3,149.98; while current charges was N538.73 plus VAT N26.94 totaling N3,715.65.

But to my utmost embarrassment, in their February bill, my previous bill that stood at N3,715.65 in January had jumped to N4,935.64 while the current estimated bill for February stood at N4,373.00 when I was billed N538.73 for January 2014 current charges. It is amusing how the billing could astronomically increase by 900% within an interval of one month, without regular power supply. I was estimated to use 75 units monthly, though my actual consumption was below 25 units using pre-paid. In January I was billed for three units, while February was jerked up to 300 units, when I’m not a ‘welder or rewire’.

In spite of this, N500 fixed charges is still being added to my bill monthly for meter maintenance, when I’m yet to be metered. This is not in tandem with Electric Power Reform Act Section 1[4.1] which states that “every Disco shall issue bills for electricity used at each consumer’s address at regular intervals”. It is dubious and counterproductive for IBEDC to be insensitive to people’s grievances.
Now the question is what parameter did they use in arriving at the obnoxious bill of N4,373.00 for February current charges, when January was the period of blackout in the area? What happened to my bill for January 2014 which the total was N3,715.65, but brought forward to reflect N4,935.64 in February 2014 as previous balance?

They can only get away with this kind of treatment to customers in Nigeria, where the government has no penchant for addressing injustice done to the poor masses, unlike developed countries of the world where they cannot try such exploitation and go scot free.
IBEDC should not take people for granted like the notorious PHCN. They should be honest and alive to their responsibility to the customers on their network as this is the only way to douse the distrust and cynicism of Nigerians about the credibility of privatization exercise.
I will like to call on Minister of Power, Prof Professor ChineduOsita Nebo; the House Committee on Power; National Council on Privatization {NCP}, and National Electricity Regulation Commission [NERC] to please check this atrocity being perpetrated by Discos, and give hope to the frustrated electricity consumers.

Pastor Mark DeboTaiwo (JP),
Takie/Idi-Abebe, Ogbomoso.

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