By Victor Ogunyinka
It is no longer news that electricity tariff has been increased all across Nigeria, to the chagrin of Nigerians. Even worse off was the increment on Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol, which currently sells at N160 per litre.
However, on Thursday, September 10, 2020, Vanguard, via its verified Twitter account, @vanguardngrnews, hosted Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company, IKEDC, in a discussion forum with hashtag #VanguardDiscourse on Electricity Tariff Increment.
The 90-minute no-holds-barred discussion, entertained questions from social media users, and Lagosians who are still in confusion as to how the new charges affect them.
Explaining its seven years sojourn in lighting up Lagos State, Ikeja Electric stated that since the takeover in 2013, “Ikeja Electric has carried out different projects across the network, especially the rehabilitation of Injection Substations 11KV panels to ease the wheeling of allocated power for equitable distribution to our customers.
“Apart from that, the company has also carried out the construction of new 11KV lines as part of its expansion projects. Replacement of wooden poles and re-conducting of weak aluminium conductors is a continuous exercise in the network to ensure reliable and stable power to our esteemed customers.
“We have also provided platforms for easy customer engagement.” But why is it difficult for customers to get the prepaid meters?
Vanguard asked the electricity company. “The word difficulty is relative; it depends on what is to be addressed. There is the application aspect to it and the installation of meters.
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“First, the application begins on the website, which is filling the Know-Your-Customer form. After the application is approved, a survey is carried out within 30 days to determine the meter type required.
“Customers will be advised on payment details by MAP. Kindly ensure you do not make payment to individuals, but only to the designated account details provided by MAP. Once payment is made, installation will follow.
“Also, customers should always ensure that their Application Reference Number (ARN) is quoted in all transactions.”
Not satisfied by the response, one of Vanguard’s readers, Ibrahim Abdulfattah, interjected: “We made payment for a meter since last year, but we’ve not been metered. We have sent several emails to your customers care, but nothing good comes out of them.”
The uninstalled meter is for pumping machine. We are waiting for Ikeja Electric to come and disconnect us.”
Another follower, identified as Olayemi, also said: “It seems Ikeja Electric is deliberately frustrating customers having prepaid meters.
“We paid for a meter almost two months ago and the meter is yet to be installed. I got an estimated billing alert a few minutes ago. No response to request for updates as well, too bad.” Taofiqq Olabiyi, apparently peeved by the response of the electricity company, said: “I disagree with your statement.
“Over a year that I have registered for a prepaid meter I am yet to be metered! I made payment two months ago when I waited for your response to expedite action.
“Honestly, this is not the best way to serve a huge potential customer. Displeased by the development, almost all the respondents wanted to have a bite on the electricity company’s skin.
“But, why should there be less electricity time now that tariff is higher? Ikeja Electric enthused that customers should note that the cost of the Service Reflective Tariff took effect September 1, 2020 and customers are now categorised under different bands with different tariffs.
“B and A customers are expected to be served a minimum of 20 hours of power per day; B and B customers are expected to get 16 hours per day; Band C customers are expected to get 12 hours per day, B and D customers are expected to get eight hours per day and B and E customers are expected to get four hours per day.
In response, Mr Meir said: “I have not had electricity since last week because of the change of tariff, even the code I haven’t seen. What is going on?”
Aymes also complained saying “Dear Ikeja Electric, so we bought recharge token for our prepaid meter but the token code did not work due to the new tariff. What can be done please?”
In ensuring the best of service delivery, the electricity company stated that there is still a high level of indebtedness among customers, which it estimated at 52 per cent.