Some residents of Lagos State under the banner of Ok0-Oba/Orile Development Union, trooped out massively on Thursday to protest what they described as arbitrary billing by the Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company.
The residents, led by the Secretary of the union, Comrade Omotayo, and Comrade James Joel, marched from Ok0-Oba, Agege, to the Ikeja Electricity Business Unit at Ponle, Egbeda area of Lagos, where they stalled activities by blocking the entrance of the disco company.
They held placards bearing inscriptions such as, ‘No Prepaid Meter, No Payment’, ‘Say No To Unjustifiable Payment of Net Arrears’, ‘Say No to Unlawful Conduct of Ikeja Electricity Company’, ‘Say No to Illegal Account’, among others.
The Business Manager of the unit, who identified himself simply as Abayomi, addressed the protesters, saying that the problem could only be resolved by the provision of prepaid meters which were promised by the government.
He stated that the government had not fulfilled its promise of supplying enough prepaid meters to the company.
He said, “Before now, for about one and half years, the government gave us prepaid meters, and they promised they would provide others, you all read it on pages of the newspapers. We gave out the ones they gave us, ever since then, no meter came.”
Abayomi also said he had had an earlier discussion with the representative of the community, where he had suggested another solution to the problem, by ensuring that they would be taking the meter reading from the transformer together with the community’s representative.
“We said we will continue with the estimation and that it will be fair. We have a meter on our transformer, and we both agreed that we will be taking the reading together and be sure the billing we are giving is not out of estimation.
“The issue will be resolved once the consumers get their prepaid meter,” he said.
The residents complained bitterly about how they were made to pay illegal arrears and how the estimated billing had made lives unbearable for them, saying that they were not ready to make payments again if the problem was not resolved by the provision of prepaid meters.
The representative of the protesters also alleged that some accounts that were said to have been suspended by the disco company were still active and causing them to pay more.
Addressing this, Abayomi said the people could come to the company to complain about it, adding that such funds would be reversed.