by Paul Agada
Residents of the Ashamu Estate in Oke-Afa, Ejigbo, Lagos Mainland, have decried alleged extortion and outrageous billing by officials of Ikeja Electric.
They accused officials of the power distribution company of extortion, complaining that the bills given to power consumers by the IE do not reflect their actual consumption as the charges are often increased intermittently.
Reacting to the development, the residents have demanded that the electricity distribution company should supply them prepaid meters so that they could be in control of their power consumption.
A victim of the alleged extortion, Isa Bakare who is a landlord in the estate told PUNCH Metro that IE charged him N120,000 for four prepaid meters, alleging that when he wanted to pay, the officials deceived him to pay into the individual meters’ accounts and the prepaid meters would be provided.
He added that the prepaid meters were not provided as the firm converted the money to the payment for consumption charges.
Bakare said, “It was a fraudulent act and I feel bad about it. I used to receive N13,000 bill monthly, but it has increased to N30,000. When some of the residents went to the IE office, we were told to apply for prepaid meters as a group. I once applied as an individual and I was defrauded by officials of the IE.
Lending his voice to the allegation, the owner of a guest house in the estate, Kunle Ariyo, claimed that he also paid for prepaid meters but they were never supplied.
His words, “The energy charge is just too much. Sometime last year, I was paying N10,000 monthly for my guest house; later it increased to N15,000, then to N35,000 and for December, I was billed N75,000.
“I have complained to the marketer to give me prepaid meter, but no prepaid meter was supplied. I was also told to pay N100,000 out of my arrears so that the prepaid meter could be supplied in two weeks, but it has not been provided. I paid the money a year ago. I want prepaid meter so that I can control my consumption.”
However reacting to the claims made by the aggrieved consumers, the spokesperson for the power company, Felix Ofulue, told PUNCH Metro that such allegations are not true.
He was quoted as saying, “The issue of customers saying we are extorting them is wrong. If customers are enjoying better power supply than before, there is a tendency for their bills to increase. We are billing according to the power supplied to our customers.”