By Emmanuel Adeyemi
Some residents in Lokoja the kogi state capital comprising of youths are planning to stage a mass protest against Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) over astronomical electricity bills generously distributed to customers who live in residential areas.
Investigations conducted by our correspondent revealed that for the past three months the electricity bills are been hiked on monthly basis with at least 30 percent increment
For example, a face me- I face you one room apartment pays as high as #12,700 from the initial # 5, 700 that was paid five months ago with a two bedroom flat also paying #12,700 as bill each month.
To make matters worst, our investigations revealed that the AEDC has devised what some call a’ dubious means’ to get more revenue by separating customers in a building and giving them separate bill of #12,700 each which ordinarily supposed to be shared among the occupants of the building
For example our correspondent visited a compound located at No 12 J J street, behind Ava hotel Lokoja where there are some few flats of residence and discovered that in that compound alone, the residents who are mostly low income earners are made to cough out over #380,000 a month on electricity bills as one- storey building which used to pay a bill of #8,700 now pays over #50,000 a month.
This is because each occupier of a flat in the one – storey building has been given as separate bill of over#12, 700 each while a building housing a two bedroom flat and three face me- I face you room apartment are also being separately given a bill of #12,700 each instead of the #5,700 they were paying in may.
Our correspondent also learnt that the electricity bills kept on increasing since June when they was a sight improvement on the supply of electricity as there is always a #2,000 increment by each month without consideration to the biting economic hardships of the people.
It was learnt that several customers who went to complain at the AEDC office were turned back on the excuse that the Abuja headquarters of the transmission company was the one who gave the blanket monthly increments as they were helpless over the matter.
This it was learnt has angered some customers as some youths comprising of Kabawa and ganja youths are planning to stage a mass protest any moment from now to compel AEDC to review the electricity bills.
One of the aggrieved customers, Mrs Anjara Danladi who spoke to our correspondent over the incessant hike in the electricity bills said the bills brought was too harsh and anti masses and did not commensurate with the supply of the electricity nor did it put into cognisance the economic hardships of the customers and urged the AEDC management to immediately review hike or face the wrath of the people.
However, when our correspondent visited the AEDC office along IBB way near the UBA a woman who identified herself as Mrs Folashade and head of customers care unit says the bill has come to stay and that the customers have to bear the cost since for the weeks the electricity supply has been slightly improved.
When asked how the electricity bills kept on increasing every month with at least #2,000 citing the bills of June that was #8,700 per an apartment to #10,700 in July and now #12,700 by August, she said the bills may even increase to #15,700 by September and by December it may hit #20,700 saying since the people demanded for improvement in electricity supply, this is the price to pay for it.