By Friday Idachaba, Lokoja
NIGERIA Union of Journalists (NUJ), Kogi State Council has decried the incessant attitude of Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) of doling out outrageous monthly estimated bills without commensurate service to customers especially in Lokoja.
In a Save Our Souls (SOS) message to Governor Yahaya Bello and the state House of Assembly, signed by Comrade Adeiza Momoh-Jimoh and Ademu Seidu Haruna, chairman and Secretary respectively, the union called for stoppage.
It noted that the attitude started between August – September, 2022 at a period, the union observed a “noticeable slight improvement on the electricity supply within Lokoja metropolis.”
The NUJ said that the AEDC hurriedly latched on the slight improvement to increase the monthly estimated bills from the usual ₦3,000 to ₦4,000 per building to ₦6,000 to ₦8,000.
“By October, AEDC in its usual attitude without putting into consideration, the biting economic situation in the country and the ability of customers to pay, again increased the bill to ₦11,700.
The union described as “killing” a situation where an average family would be compelled to pay N15,000 electricity bill in a country where the minimum wage is N30,000.
The statement said that in response to the cries and barrage of complaints from members of the public and in fulfilling its social responsibility mandate of serving as the Mirror and Watch dog of the society, members of the union decided to enquire.
The union according to the statement sought to inquire from the organization reasons for the rash increase without commensurate service but to its utter dismay, no official of the AEDC in the state was willing to talk to the Journalists.
The Union said that after the attempt to enquire, the bills increased astronomically to the such extent that the January monthly bills rose to N14,700 while that of February was jerked up to ₦15,300
“This is in spite of the fact that the electricity supply has dropped drastically from between eight and 10 hours per day to a miserable three to four hours.
“In most cases, some areas in the state capital experience total outage for days or weeks without any explanation from the distribution company while the bills keep on running.
“The union also observed that the AEDC flagrantly refused to make available the Pre-Paid Metres to members of the public even when payments had been made.
“They rather take delight in giving out blanket monthly outrageous billings to customers without even reading the metres where available.
“In the light of the above, the union is calling on the Kogi State House of Assembly and particularly Governor Yahaya Bello to immediately wade into this matter and call the management of AEDC to order.
“This heartless monthly increment may result to breakdown of law and order as the saying goes that a dog that is pushed to the wall has no alternative than to bark and bite”, the Union further said.
The prevailing hardships resulting from fuel scarcity, water scarcity, incessant electricity outage and the cash crunch being experienced should not be further aggravated by AEDC propensity for illicit gains.