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CSOs flay EDDC of abysmal services, criminal conducts

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••oppression of Southeast electricity consumers
Babatunde Opalana 

The Civil Society Organisations (CSOs)  which include the Int’l Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety), the Southeast Zone of the Civil Liberties Organization (Southeast CLO) and 13 other members of the Southeast Based Coalition of Human Rights & Good Governance Organizations (SBCHROS) have accused the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC) of criminal conducts, oppression and putting consumers of electricity of the 18 Business Districts under the Company in perpetual bondage.

In a 12-page strong worded and statistically grounded Special Memo to the  Power Minister, Babatunde Fashola, the Acting Chairman of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, Dr.

Anthony Akah as well as Senate and House Committees’ Chairmen on Power Senator Enyinnaya Abiribe and Hon Effiong Daniel titled “Before Southeast Goes Up In Flames (1)” the group seek for expeditious and competent intervention of its recipients to rescue the People of the Southeast or Igbo People of Nigeria from shackles and manacles of EEDC in the Zone.

This followed the findings of an in-depth investigation conducted by Intersociety on EEDC’s untamed and unbearable criminality, recklessness and lawlessness in the entire 18 Business Districts of the Company in Southeast Nigeria using the Ogbaru Business District as a case study, followed by those of Onitsha and Ogidi.

The EEDC is presently divided into 18 Business Districts with six in Anambra; namely: Onitsha, Awka, Nnewi, Ogbaru, Ogidi and Ekwulobia Districts; four in Enugu: Awkunanaw, Abakpa, Nsukka and Ogui Districts; four in Imo: Mbaise, Owerri, New Owerri and

Orlu Districts; three in Abia: Ariaria, Aba and Umuahia Districts; and one in Ebonyi: Abakiliki District.

The special memo, referenced: Ref: Intersociety/SBCHROs/001/012/ 017/FG/ABJ and titled:  Special Memo: Seeking For The Rescue Of The People Of Southeast From Chronic

Bondage, Oppressive & Criminal Conducts Of EEDC was also copied to the Acting Managing Director of EEDC, Mr. Paul Okeke; Onitsha, Ogidi and Ogbaru Network Managers of EEDC, Engineers Ozo Nweke, Chris Ezeoha and Obi Ughasoro as well as the Ogbaru Outpost Navy Commander, Navy Captain Kabiru Mohammed and others stakeholders in Ogbaru under EEDC’s

Ogbaru Business District.

According to the group, minimum of 800 distribution transformers with the capacity of 300KVA to 500KVA are procured and installed by politicians, state governments and community of residential consumers in Southeast Nigeria every year, but such transformers are procured and installed by community of consumers, are quickly profiles and possesses by EEDC.

“This translates to a minimum of N3.2Billion yearly including installation costs. That is to say that not less than N16Billion had been injected into power distribution in the Southeast by the trio arising from procurement and installation of over 4000 distribution transformers in the past five years in Southeast Nigeria.

“Shockingly, EEDC lays claims to all distribution transformers installed in Southeast Nigeria till date. In other words, those transformers have automatically become EEDC’s properties”, it exclaimed

The grouse of the group also include continuous brutal denial of the people of the Southeast steady power supply especially since 2012 when EEDC came on board in the Zone. The group claimed that steady and affordable power supply and associated social convenience and happiness is speedily on the brink; to the extent that criminal syndicates have taken over EEDC; running riot on vulnerable consumers in the Zone with reckless abandon.

The group expressed was saddened agencies of government such as NERC has failed in their oversight responsibilities to checkmate the excesses of the Company so as to compel same to do the needful and subscribe to its corporate social responsibilities and laws of the land. It said the  failure of these oversight bodies to check and tame the excesses of EEDC has emboldened and escalated the criminal activities and lawlessness of the Southeast Power Distribution Company.

It accused the EEDC of “flouting its terms of agreement with the Federal Government that led to granting of license to same to distribute and market power supply to the people of Southeast Nigeria. The most disastrous of it all is the reckless abandon and impunity with which EEDC breaches the clear provisions of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission Act (Electric Power Sector Reform (EPSR) Act No 6 of 2005) and the Fundamental Human Rights and other relevant provisions of Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution”.

“Today, EEDC has become a torn in the fresh of the people of the Southeast Nigeria. In all recent performance surveys of NERC and independent others carried out on all the eleven DISCOS in Nigeria, EEDC remains the least performing DISCO (Power Distribution Company) in Nigeria.

 “The demand and supply content of EEDC is virtually nothing to write home about; other than steadily short-changing and ripping off its innocent consumers with reckless abandon as well as ripping from where it never sowed.

“We reminded the recipients of our joint letter and the general public that core statutory and constitutional duties of EEDC in Southeast Nigeria where it holds stake are: (a) distribute and market electricity and collect monthly lawful bills, (b) meter via prepaid metering policy of the Federal Government; all is single phase residential consumers, three phase (R2T) consumers, D1TI consumers and maximum demand or industrial customers, (c) stick to NERC issued

tariff pricing of N30.93k per unit and strictly apply NERC recommended billing method for unmetered single phase residential consumers; by using monthly average consumption units consumed by those with functional post paid and prepaid meters (i.e. 50 units multiply by

N30.93K).

The group also accused the EEDC of filing to allocate prepaid meters to an  estimated 95% of single phase residential consumers in the Southeast Zone while majority of three phase customers (R2T), D1TI consumers and maximum demand or industrial customers in Southeast Nigeria are yet to be metered or given prepaid meters.

That is to say that all the four categories of consumers; namely 3-Phase, D1TI, MD and S-Phase consumers are still made to pass through teething agonies of EEDC’s criminally imposed and outrageous monthly estimated bills.

“We noted with total sadness that not only that industrial and non industrial (residential) consumers of EEDC in Southeast Nigeria are totally left to shoulder the responsibilities of procuring, installing and maintaining distribution transformers and their accessories, they

are also over-billed, threatened, forced, despised and extorted.

“Customer service or public complaint response of EEDC, also, is provocatively and acutely slow and in the event of faults on transformers or feeder lines, it takes ages to restore same; except

where the affected consumers are  forced or ready under duress to defray the costs of their repair or replacement”, it said.


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