Electricity consumers in Umuahia and its environs have expressed worry over the erratic power supply and ‘’crazy bills’’ from the Enugu Electricity distribution Company (EEDC).
Some of the consumers told newsmen in Umuahia, said that the situation had deteriorated, adding that they had been paying for energy not supplied.
Mr Chukwudi Ikokwu, who lives at Dozie Way/Ikot Ekpene Road, described the situation in the area as “a nightmare.”
Ikokwu said that several factors, including the overloading of a mini-transformer in the area, were responsible for the poor power supply.
He noted that the transformer could no longer carry the load resulting from the increase in population of residents in the sprawling suburb, located in the outskirts of Umuahia.
The consumer said that an intervention by the Niger Delta Development Commission with the donation of a bigger transformer to the area could not solve the problem.
“Right now, we make do with low voltage which cannot power any electronic gadget in my apartment,” Ikokwu said.
“This ugly experience notwithstanding, EEDC still sends us outrageous bills,” he said, adding consumers of a two-bed room flat in the area paid a minimum of N5, 000 monthly.
Also, Mr Rex Igwebuike, who resides at Ohokobe-Afara expressed regret that EEDC “has been rationing light in the area for more than two consecutive months.”
“Power supply in my area has been irregular for many months,” Igwebuike said, adding that most often, the light would not last for up two hours uninterrupted.
“There are days the light does not last for more than seven hours cumulatively.
“It is painful that in spite of the epileptic nature of the supply, EEDC continues to send us crazy bills every month,” he said.
He said that he was given more than N9, 000 as an electricity bill for January whereas his co-tenants in the same building received between N5, 000 and N6, 000.
Another resident, Mr Emma Chukwu, said that power supply in his area on Bende Road, Umuahia “has gone from bad to worse.”
Chukwu said that the area had been without light for about two weeks running.
He said that residents of the area depended on commercial boreholes for water but could not pump water from such boreholes” due to power outage.”
Chief Boniface Okoronkwo of Amuzukwu Layout, Umuahia said that on several occasions soup in his house went soured as it could not be stored in the refrigerator due to erratic power supply.
Okoronkwo also faulted EEDC’s “outrageous bills”, saying that the company was ripping off electricity consumers in the area.
Other respondents urged the management of the company to take urgent steps to address the issues.
Reacting to the complaints in a telephone interview with newsmen on Wednesday, the Head of Communication, EEDC, Enugu, Mr Emeka Eze, said that it would be unrealistic for people to expect 24-hour power supply.
Eze said that the company lacked the financial capacity to meet the expectations of the people because “we do not receive government’s allocation.”
He further explained that power supply depended on the amount of energy available to the company.
On the issues concerning outrageous bills, he said that there were different categories of bills.
He said that ‘single and three-phase’ commercial class attracted higher bills than ‘single and three-phase’ residential class.
Eze said that the company had channels open to consumers to ventilate their complaints, adding that they should feel free to bring up their complaints to the company.
He said: “We encourage our customers to come to our office when they have issues. We encourage them to ask questions.
“For instance, if you live in an area and you do not have light for one week, if you receive a bill you consider high, feel free to bring the complaint to our office.
‘’We assure you that our marketers will handle the complaints,” he said.