By Ogbonna Casmir
Onwumere who is disenchanted with the services rendered by EEDC and the outrageous estimated bills they give to customers, said that whereas an armed robber would attack and take what belonged to one once, EEDC would keep coming and coming to extort the unwary electricity consumers.
“If you give me an armed robber and EEDC, I’ll choose the armed robber because an armed robber will come once whereas EEDC will keep coming and coming demanding to be paid for darkness,” he said.
The human right activist who made this view known Wednesday at a public hearing organised by the Enugu State House of Assembly for the people of Enugu West Senatorial Zone over estimated bills and non-provision of pre-paid metres according to the directive of NERC, said that the company is fleecing the people without the commensurate services.
Onwumere said that the people of his area were even planning to embark on demonstration against the staggering bills they are burdened with and expressed joy that the Assembly has taken reactive measures to check what he described as a day robbery.
Declaring the public hearing open, Speaker of Enugu State House of Assembly, Hon. Edward Ubosi, represented by the Deputy Speaker, Hon. Dons Uzogbado, said that the public hearing became necessary because Enugu State was at war with EEDC.
“Enugu State is at war. The economy of Enugu State is being attacked. We pay electricity bill more than other states. We are making sure that this monster does not send us to our doom.
” Small scale businesses are suffering in Enugu State. If this continues, our people may take up arms. This particular war is economic. We are not going to hurt or insult anybody. We want the world to hear us,” Ubosi said pointing out that state of emergency has to be declared, “because our people are suffering.”
Surprisingly, the officials of EEDC and NERC did not honour the invitation of the House to appear for the public hearing. However, EEDC managed to send a letter asking the House to postpone the public hearing to May 17, 2017 to enable them attend because they were on a serious engagement in their company.
All the participants that attended the public hearing from the five local governments that made up the Enugu West Senatorial Zone, spoke scathingly about the high-handedness of EEDC that would give exorbitant estimated bill but would not supply the required electricity in addition to non-provision of prepaid metres.
Transitional chairman of Aninri Local Government Area, Hon Chidi Ekwe, said that it was criminal that EEDC would give the people exorbitant bill but would turn blind eye when it comes to maintaining their installations or replacing same when they get spoilt.
“EEDC should undertake the repair of their transformers and other installations and not leave them to governments and communities,” Ekwe posits.
He urged the legislators to constrain EEDC to sit up so that they would charge uniform tarrif as it is done in Lagos and Abuja.
A community leader from Obunofia Ndiagu, Ezeagu Local Government Area, said that since 2015, they have been in darkness till this day because they were asked to pay N279,000.00 to pay for unconsumed power.
The public hearing was organised following a matter of urgent public importance raised on the floor of the house recently by the member representing Nsukka East Constituency, Hon. Chinedu Nwamba, on the wanton bills given to electricity consumers in Enugu State and the inability of EEDC to provide them with prepaid metres.