By Ikechukwu Odu
The Enugu Electricity Distribution Company, EEDC, weekend, revealed plans to commence distribution of free prepaid meters to electricity consumers at Nsukka District, in the first quarter of 2021.
The EEDC Network Manager of Nsukka district, Abuchi Mekowulu, disclosed this in Nsukka while addressing irate protesters who stormed their office at Enugu Road over unjustified high electricity tariff.
Mekowulu said that EEDC in collaboration with Federal Government would make it possible for all customers to get prepaid meters in 2021starting from first quarter of the year.
“EEDC is optimistic that before the end of 2021, all customers will get prepaid meters free of charge. With prepaid meter, the complaint of high monthly estimated bills will be over,” he said.
The Network Manager explained that the increase in monthly bills was as a result of near 24-hour electricity supply by EEDC in Nsukka town and environs for the past five months.
“I am happy you have acknowledged that you now enjoy electricity supply between 20 and 22 hours daily,” he said.
Speaking, the spokesman of the protesters Mr. Titus Onyishi said they were in EEDC office to register their grievances at the monthly “outrageous” estimated bills given to Nsukka residents.
“Three months ago, EEDC gave us monthly N5,000 and we paid because there is improvement in power supply. But surprisingly last month some are given N25,000, N20,000, N15,000 as monthly estimated bills. We are here to see how to resolve this issue with EEDC,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mr. Cosmas Ugwueze, the Council Chairman of Nsukka Local Government Area who rushed down to the EEDC office to ensure that the protest did not turn violent, applauded the protesters for conducting themselves in a peaceful manner.
He urged the EEDC to keep to their promise of supplying free prepaid meters to the customers, come first quarter of 2021.
However, when contacted, Mr. Emeka Ezeh, Head, Corporate Communications, EEDC said, “this is part of the reactions from our customers since the implementation of the revised Service Reflective Tariff (SRT) on November 1, 2020.”
“It is important to state that the tariff is a fallout of meetings between the Federal Government, Labour Unions and other stakeholders,” he said. “We have equally been carrying out sensitisation on this development, as well as its impact to our customers.
“The group that came on protest today are on Band A and they are being served by our Township Feeder with a daily minimum guaranteed availability of 20 hours. With this availability and the effect of the revised tariff, there is no way the customers will not feel the impact in their bills, ” he explained.
He appealed to the customers to understand that there is a shift from what used to be obtainable and urged them begin slight adjustment by conserving energy, adding that “EEDC is working at improving the service quality to our customers and expect them to appreciate this effort and support in paying their bills as that is the only way we can sustain the system.”
“We appreciate the peaceful way the customers conducted themselves and encourage them to use our available customer complaint channels to lodge their concerns and it will be looked addressed,” he said.
The protesters carried placards with inscriptions such as “Reduce high electricity tariff in Nsukka, Enough is Enough, EEDC can go to hell, Reduce our tariff” among others.