The Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC) has blamed the inadequate number of prepaid meters in its franchise areas on the scarcity of foreign exchange in the country.
The company said this in a statement at the weekend while reacting to a recent protest by some Ogun residents, who were aggrieved over the unavailability of prepaid meters, as well crazy billing (from the company) and erratic power supply in their area, that it had always been proactive in community engagements. The statement, pointed out further that the company’s proactive engagements have enabled it to operate almost seamlessly, despite challenges in most of its coverage areas, including Ijako/Ishaka in Ado Odo/Ota local government.
IBEDC, however, added that despite its rigorous efforts, it is impossible to completely prevent incidents such community protest because of the volatile nature of the power industry in Nigeria. The statement from the company added that when such a protest arises, it seeks to quickly address it by treating it as an emergency. The IBEDC further disclosed that it had held several meetings with the affected community where it explained to them the issues involved with prepaid meter distribution.
The delay is due to the scarcity of forex, which affected the contractors supplying the meters. The development stiffened the normally smooth process of supplying the meters to them by the manufacturers.
On the alleged high billing, IBEDC said its records showed that in the last six months, the residents of the community have never been billed more than N500 on the average per house.
The company stated that despite the ridiculously lenient billing, most residents of the community still refused to pay for energy consumed for the last three months, their excuse being ” epileptic supply.”
It was only this month, with the supply situation improving, that their bills went up to N1, 000 on the average. Yet, they have refused to collect the bills or allow our staff to work in their community to date. IBEDC uses an NERC-approved scientific system for billing customers using the cluster billing methodology, therefore we maintain a tolerable variance in all our estimated bills.
The IBEDC also insisted that the erratic power supply affecting the community is a national challenge, adding that other communities on the same Ota Industrial feeder such as Owode and Ifo metropolis were also affected by the supply challenge.
“This was exacerbated by the 25days TAT maintenance by the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) in November 2016. All these were communicated to the CDA Chairmen and Secretaries as we are always in touch with them, but it is unfortunate that their leaders embarked on a campaign of calumny and blackmail against IBEDC with all the allegations raised. To further see how could resolve the issue, we took the names and phone numbers of the leaders of the protest with a view to engaging,”