By Sumaila Ogbaje
Abuja – Residents of Chika, Aleyita, Pyakasa and Ketti on the Airport road, Abuja, on Thursday protested what they described as outrageous estimated billing and poor electricity supply by Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC).
Speaking on behalf of the communities during the protest, Mr Sunday Tijani, disclosed that each customer was being forced to pay between N7,000 and N27,000 in spite of poor power supply.
Tijani, who is the Chairman of Electricity Committee in Aleyita, said the four communities had come together because they were under one business office.
He explained that series of letters of complaint had been written to AEDC at all levels and copied the National Assembly and other relevant security agencies to intimate them of their plight.
Tijani said the communities had demanded that prepaid metres be installed for all customers in those areas effective from September 1, in line with the directive from the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).
He added that part of the demand was that in the event that AEDC would continue with estimated billing, it should be between N1,500 and N5,000 per month as the case may be.
According to him, AEDC may choose to disconnect the communities if it cannot meet their demands because they can no longer continue to pay for darkness.
“We are demanding that with effect from September 1, prepaid metres be provided as directed by Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).
“If AEDC must continue with estimated billing while waiting for prepaid metres, the bills should be within the range of N1,500 and N5,000 per month.
“That five per cent payment of outstanding bills be paid along with the current charges to enable them clear the outstanding with time as agreed in our meeting with AEDC Lugbe Area Manager dated August 2, 2017.
“In the absence of the aforementioned, the above communities will no longer accept individual disconnection of light.
“AEDC may choose to disconnect our communities from the source because we are ready to stay without light than to be paying for darkness, which is negatively affecting our livelihood and children’s education,” said.
The leader of the group also disclosed that some areas in the these communities had been enduring load shedding for many months without remedy while others suffer constant power failure.
He said all residents would not pay the current bill brought by AEDC pending when the disagreement is resolved.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the residents, as part of their protest, gathered all the distributed bills in group and returned same to the AEDC business office in Aleyita.
Some of the bills read by NAN correspondent showed that the minimum bill to each customer is N10,734 while some were charged as much as N13,000 and N15,000 respectively.
Meanwhile, NAN reports that some officials of AEDC from Lugbe Area Office, who came during the protest, did not address the crowd but held a closed-door meeting with the leaders of the group.
Emerging from the meeting, the leader of the protesting group, Tijani, told NAN that no agreement was reached, and explained that the officials promised to investigate the claims.
He added that the AEDC officials promised to hold another meeting with the leaders of the affected communities on how to resolve the disagreement.
However, the officials declined to speak with newsmen after the meeting. (NAN)