By Sunday Odiaka
In mid-February, this year, electricity consumers in Orisumbare in Alimosho Local Government Area of Lagos State heaved a great sigh of relief. Ikeja Electric, IKEDC, after almost a year, agreed to restore electricity to the community.
This came after the community was compelled to pay a huge amount of money. It is also worth stressing that several meaningful socio-economic activities in the area were already brought to a complete standstill.
The same source of relief is fast turning into a burden too heavy to bear. There is equally no clear sign that the excruciating pain is ending very soon. Therefore, the consumers are clearly left to lick their wounds and prepare for whatever IKEDC throws at them.
The questions are endless and the desired answers are not even provided. How does one justify the billing of a one-bedroom apartment, with one or absolutely nothing to be counted as a power-consuming appliance, as high as N30,000 in a month? How does one justify that a house, with an unoccupied shop, is considered as a commercial building and must be billed as high as N60,000 in a month?
The acquisition of pre-paid metre is consistently touted as the best alternative to estimated billings. Findings, however, showed that most electricity consumers in Orisumbare, who got theirs after long years of waiting, are equally wailing. This further confirmed that whatever is issued by IKEDC as a bill is even beyond the reach of the rich.
It is clear that power distributors across the country, not consumers, are king. The staff of IKEDC, however, operate more like kings. They are having an unchallenged run as super-powerful emperors. In short, the manner and time they go about disconnecting so-called defaulters is strong enough to overpower the strongest of hearts.
Meanwhile, most electricity consumers in Orisumbare have been using legitimate channels in engaging and expressing their grievances. There is, however, nothing suggesting that IKEDC is concerned about how its billings translate into unimaginable hardship for the consumers. How long will electricity consumers in Orisumbare cry over this burden that is extremely heavy to bear?
*Odiaka, a media practitioner, wrote from Lagos