(By Chris K.Amadi) – As Nigerians remember the ENDSARS protests of 2020, the attention of the citizens have been drawn to the fraud being perpetrated by electricity companies against consumers in the country. Concerned Nigerians who spoke with Notable Outcome in Port Harcourt complained of how the Port Harcourt Electricity Company, PHED, are milking consumers in the Diobu axis. We gathered that the people have been demanding for prepaid meters but without positive response from PHED, whose officials, according to the consumers, have since turned Diobu to their cash cow.
Consumers who spoke to Notable Outcome decried a situation where the company has suddenly began to issue multiple bills to consumers using a single meter- based on a single reading, and worst still, those who have metres are told by PHED officials that the metres, which are still functional, have expired, just to allow them the liberty to base their charges on estimation.
The most unfortunate aspect, according to the aggrieved electricity consumers, is that PHED also insist that consumers pay the total sum of whatever that is charged them based on estimation instead of an incontestable amount as directed by the National Electricity Commission.
We gathered that the new wave of exploitation by PHED is provoking a grounds well of resistance in Diobu and other locations where PHED have neglected to give prepaid metres to the consumers to end the regime of dubious charges in the name of estimated bills.
As Nigerians mark the one year anniversary of ENDSARS protests, some customers who spoke with Notable Outcome in Port Harcourt said the next target should be to compel the relevant authorities to give prepaid meters to consumers, as a way of ending ELECTRICITY FRAUD in Nigeria.
Recalling the plight of Nigerians in the hands of electricity companies, George Udom had these to say:
“You bought a pole, you bought the cable and you bought the meter. And you contributed money to buy or replace the community transformer. As soon as you have done all these, they automatically become their property.
“Then the fraudster electricity distribution companies will, without taking the meter reading, send outrageous estimated bills to you for power never consumed. And if you dare raise a question against their barefaced robbery, they will come and remove the cable you bought with your money as their property.
“Then you will be charged what they call re-connection fee to get your cable fixed back. And you will have to bribe their personnel to replace a melted fuse or you will remain perpetually in darkness and still pay the bill at the end of the month.
“The most heinous part of their corporate crime against the people is the revenue target they set for their personnel as to how much they intend to rob Nigerians every month.
“This daylight robbery from electricity distribution companies must Stop!” the concerned George Udom wrote in his protest against the criminal exploitation of Nigerians by fellow Nigerians.
Meanwhile, as Nigerians mark the one year anniversary of ENDSARS protests on Wednesday, October 13, not much has really changed as police officials, who almost deserted the roads for a while, have since returned to their old ways of extortion of commercial drivers and others. There were also concerns that the lot of the internal security officials are yet to be enhanced as promised by government .