Electricity consumers in the South-East have commended the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC) for improved service delivery in the zone.
They spoke at a customer engagement forum with electricity consumers in the South East as part of the Senate Committee Chairman on Power, Steel Development and Metallurgy oversight visit to Enugu Electricity Distribution Company, EEDC, in Enugu on Monday.
Meanwhile, some participants at the event including, Obiechina Imejiofore from Ngwo and Innocent Chukwuma Onuji from Umuode Isolo Abia, lamented the high bills issued them by the EEDC.
Obiechina who called for special consideration for the rural areas, said EEDC focuses more on the urban areas leaving behind the rural areas.
He also pleaded with the EEDC to reduce the tariff plan as communities closer to the urban areas are charged the same amount alongside the city.
According to Chukwuma , his community has been suffering from over billing and lack of power supply from 1 July 2016 to 31 Dec 2016 stressing efforts made by the community to bring to an end the blackout proved abortive as several visit to EEDC office at Umuahia has not helped matters leading to accumulated bill of 3 million Naira for the community.
Earlier, the Senate Committee Chairman on Power, Steel Development and Metallurgy, Senator Enyinaya Abaribe charged Electricity Distribution Companies in Nigeria to provide customers with prepared meters to reduce incidences of estimated billing.
He advised the EEDC to meter every house in the zone stressing that it will not only reduce cost but will also bring about accountability.
While expressing hope for a better Nigeria, the lawmaker stated that the job of the committee was to review the state of power in respect to distribution companies (Discos).
He disclosed that there was a comprehensive discussion going on regarding the privatisation exercise between the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) and the privatised companies.
Speaking at the event, the Deputy Speaker, Enugu State House of Assembly, Donatus Uzogbado appreciated the efforts of the committee in ensuring that DISCOs lived up to their expectations by providing uninterrupted power supply to Nigerians.
Uzogbado disclosed that the State House of Assembly had had several engagements with the EEDC because of complaints from electricity consumers regarding over-billing and lack of supply of electricity to most parts of the state.
He noted that the public hearing organised by the State House of Assembly for the three senatorial zones of the state, have led a significant improvement in the power supply by EEDC.
The lawmaker however charged management of the EEDC to urgently address the vexed issues of overestimated bills and metering which has been a serious problem to customers in the state.
Reacting to concerns raised by customers, the Deputy Managing Director of the EEDC , Paul Okeke pointed out that on taking over assets of the PHCN, EEDC inherited outstanding debt owed by customers adding that a total of 8 hundred thousand customers were also inherited with only two hundred thousand of the customers metered.
Okeke disclosed that only 20% of the remaining six hundred thousand customers inherited by the EEDC have so far been metered which he said was caused due to lack of investment in infrastructure.
He however stated that with the introduction of MAT by NERC, metering of houses by the EEDC will commence next year.
Okeke who attributed the continued used of estimated billing system to lack of meters promised that with the introduction of MAT overestimated charges will be a thing of the past.
He averred that some of the sundry issues pointed out by the customers for resolution were parts of the teething problems of the first phase in the electricity supply process, promising to resolve most of them by the first quarter of next year.