By Benprince Ezeh
THE Arepo Central Community Development Association, ACCDA, and Isheri Estates Community Residents Association of Lagos and Ogun, ISECOM, representing the residents of Arepo and Isheri/OPIC, both communities lying along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, have rejected the proposed move by the management of Ikeja Electric, IE, to increase tariff on electricity by July 1, 2020.
A letter signed by Kenny Adeyemo, president of ACCDA, Jide Oke, ACCDA general secretary, Abiola Abioye, ISECOM chairman, and Afolabi Fasoranti, ISECOM general secretary on Sunday, June 28, stated that they received with shock and utmost consternation the proposed move by the management of IE, who has failed repeatedly over the years and particularly in the last one year, to provide regular supply of power to the two communities to increase tariff.
“Through repeated failure and breach of contractual obligations under the Nigerian Electricity Supply and Installation Standards Regulation of 2015, we, therefore, vehemently oppose this plan by your management to increase tariff being paid by our communities.
“In these communities are a lot of our members who up till now are not metered by the management of IE in a relationship with such residents receiving payments based on a very exploitative and highly ridiculous estimated billing regime on a monthly basis despite epileptic service.
“In the last year notably, the two communities have been inundated, bombarded and harassed with several text messages from IE customer care center that the Akute feeder which provides the communities with electricity is always faulty with persistent pleas that such fault would be rectified immediately. Despite several letters from us and even meetings held with you, the last being in February this year, your management has unfortunately neglected or failed outrightly to rectify or overhaul this faulty feeder in Akute,” the letter said.
According to the letter, IE has breached its promise of better and more regular power supply to the communities. “The result of this breach is that, it takes days sometimes before faults are rectified, therefore putting all the people in these communities into perpetual darkness and untold, unwarranted and undeserved psychological trauma as a result of lack of electricity.
“This is apart from non-upgrading or replacement of obsolete transformers and other infrastructures in the communities which have been a source of regular concern.”
On account of this inadequacy by the management of IE, the two communities have been put on perpetual one day on-one day off supply arrangement, but quite pathetically, IE has failed woefully to even meet up with this arrangement. As on the specific day of supply to any of the communities, the customary excuse of Akute feeder trip-off is used as justification for breach.
“It is worse that at the slightest hint or drop of rainfall, what otherwise should be a blessing, automatically becomes a curse by the handlers IE. It’s light off immediately, no thanks to Akute feeder.
“The use of Akute feeder as an alibi is not only frustrating and ludicrous; it is seen as a ploy to coerce the two communities into joining your willing buyer-willing seller scheme, there-by imposing exploitative, outlandish electricity tariffs on the two communities against our wish,” it stated.
It stated: “For communities where almost half of the population are without meters, which are not readily made available, the management of IE, in the most unconscionable manner, provides electricity for barely 10 days in a month, but serve residents with ridiculous monthly estimated bills, a situation which is not only oppressive but unfair, insensitive and rapacious”.
However, the communities said that provision of the Nigerian Electricity Supply and Installation Standards Regulation of 2015 is concise and expressly clear on the duties imposed on IE management on distribution infrastructure. “Chapter 5 of the regulation mandate that all distribution infrastructures including Akute feeder should guarantee operational performance within the anticipated life span of its installation, and when such infrastructure’s lifespan expires it must be replaced immediately.
It provides that such distribution feeder must take into cognizance community expansion and must also not be impeded by environmental issues such as flood, human factor, erosion, etc.
The letter said that in opposing the plan of tariff increment, “the two communities hereby suggest the following as a way of ameliorating the current epileptic supply of power and improving the relationship with the two communities such as urgent upgrade or overhaul of the obsolete and overloaded Akute Transmission Feeder, which has been the source of epileptic supply to the two communities over the years.
“Provision of a booster station as promised by IE along the transmission line from Akute to Arepo, to improve supply to the two communities, immediate metering or provision of Prepaid meters to all residents as mandated in a recent resolution by the National Assembly.
“We suggest a system that meters should be provided to customers free and if required to be paid for, such payment can be deducted periodically through bills, replacement of all obsolete infrastructures, such as electricity lines, cables and transformers which have hindered regular and stable supply to communities over the years.
The letter noted that most of the transformers in the two communities were procured by the communities, adding that they need replacement. It also suggested the overhauling of the IE customer care centre to improve the company’s customer service relationship with residents and guarantee a humane and effective feedback mechanism with customers.
“It is imperative for the management of IE to understand that client-customer relationship is not one-sided traffic but a symbiotic one,” the letter stated.
It also called for a review of tariff or price on a product as customer satisfaction is equally a factor for consideration, but not just the bottom-line.
– Jun. 29, 2020 @ 15:50 GMT |