Lokoja – The Kogi State Government on Saturday averted a mass protest planned by aggrieved electricity consumers in Ogori/Magongo Local Government Area, over poor power supply and abnormal billing.
The Special Adviser on Energy and Power to the Governor, Mr Otayitie Eminefo, convened an emergency stakeholders town hall meeting in Ogori, which calmed frayed nerves and averted the planned protest.
Eminefo expressed delight that the intervention yielded huge success through dialogue, and averted the protest that could have been hijacked by miscreants for selfish and political gains, to cause breakdown of law and order.
Some representatives of the consumers who spoke at the meeting had accused the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) of incessant estimated and crazy billing and complained of misbehaviour by their staff members.
Other issues raised were inability to access prepaid meters, billing residential houses as commercial, among others.
One of the consumers, Dr. Tony Alabi, said that analogue meters in their houses were no longer being read by AEDC staff, as they had opted for estimating energy used for consumers.
He stressed the need for regular sensitisation and interaction between the management of AEDC and the electricity consumers to forestall avoidable unrest and uproar.
Mr John Suleiman, the Manager, AEDC Okene Area Office, thanked the state government for the timely intervention that stopped the planned protest, and promised more collaboration with government.
Suleiman appealed to the electricity consumers to pay their bills, while urging the community to protect electricity installations and other facilities of the company.
The area manager suggested a bulk meter for each community as the way out of the problem, and requested that consumer representatives should accompany AEDC officials in assessing consumers’ consumption pattern.
In his remarks, the Special Adviser, Eminefo had emphasised the importance of dialogue and mutual understanding in resolving issues and challenges without necessarily resorting to protest.
Eminefo commended the aggrieved consumers for accepting dialogue thereby averting the planned protest, assuring them that the government would collaborate with the AEDC and other stakeholders to address all the issues raised.
He, however, enjoined the people to be law abiding citizens, go about their normal and legitimate businesses, and ensure that electricity installation in their areas were protected from vandalism.
After the meeting, it was jointly recommended that a Bulk Metering System would be considered for the communities.
A committee was also inaugurated comprising AEDC and the community members, with the mandate to visit every house to determine and ascertain their consumption capacity. NAN)