Residents of Arepo in the Obafemi Owode Local Government Area of Ogun State have lamented the exorbitant electricity bills they get from a power distribution company, Ikeja Electric.
PUNCH Metro learnt from some of the affected landlords, tenants and business operators in the community that since April, bills had increased geometrically.
Some of the residents also lamented that they applied for prepaid meters since 2020 and till date, they had yet to get them.
A landlady on Beachland Road, Arepo, who is also the Iyaloja of Arepo, Ashaolu Kudira, said her house was disconnected in April after she refused to pay the N40,000 bill the IE officials brought.
“Do we have a bakery or a cement factory here? I have applied for a prepaid meter, but these people did not give us one.
“I have been to their office to request for my compound’s meter and all they have been doing is to promise me that it will soon be brought to my house.
“I think they just want to use this for business and we will not allow this because that is cheating. It’s not fair. We don’t even enjoy regular power supply,” she added.
A trader, Omotunde Mariam, who owns a grocery store around Journalist Estate, said her bill increased from N25,000 to N37,000, yet power supply to the community was not constant.
She said, “I used to pay N25,000 before, now it is between N35,000 and N37,000 that I pay for this small shop and it is not as if they give us power for 24 hours. We will even be lucky if we get four hours of power supply in a day.
“Imagine, we do business using generators and we pay Ikeja Electric from the proceeds of what we make with the fuel we use to power our business.”
A landlord on Pure Water Street, Yusuf Sulaimon, claimed that the company was trying to milk residents dry.
Sulaimon said, “In my house, they sent a bill of N56,000 to us as if we run an industry here. But before, we were getting N20,000 or N26,000 depending on how constant they give us power.
“We applied for a prepaid meter since December 2021 and it has not been given to us. All they want is for this system of billing to continue.”
The Head of Corporate Communications, Ikeja Electric, Felix Ofulue, said the company had encouraged customers to apply for prepaid meters so they could know the amount of energy they consumed.
He said, “Ikeja Electric has made it possible for customers to monitor what they consume. And look at it, we want accountability, hence Ikeja Electric’s push for prepaid meters.
“They should all apply for these meters instead of lamenting the billing system because we have the A and B gridline system and we do our best to supply power to every area.
“It is fair that we do that because we don’t want anyone saying they were deprived of power supply, so we alternate supply to the community.
“I will advise those concerned to apply for prepaid meters because if they have them, we will not be talking of overbilling. At least, they will see what they use.
“Ikeja Electric’s billing system is based on what is consumed and we do not approximate the amount to our customers; it is what they use that the company bills them for and we are asking them again to apply for their prepaid meters.”
The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission had reportedly in February 2022 approved tarrif increase for six Discos. The tariff has about N2 to N5 increase.
The adjustment was, however, not published till May 2022, which drew the ire of stakeholders who saw the action as deceptive.
There has been no improvement in the generation and distribution of power supply to consumers, with the national grid experiencing major breakdowns in recent times, as Discos pile up bills on helpless residents.