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Lagos residents demand prepaid meter, protest against estimated billing

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Protesters at the front of Ikeja Electric

Okeira, Aguda Ogba community residents in Lagos State yesterday staged a peaceful protest against Ikeja Electric, the only electricity distribution company in the area over high estimated billing system the community has been getting.

They also claimed that the time given to the company by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, to give over 3,000 customers’ prepaid meters has elapsed without responding to their demands.

With placards with various inscriptions such as: ‘No More Estimated Billing’, ‘NEPA bill is more than house rent’, ‘Bring Prepaid Meter Now’, ‘’Enough is enough, we say no to estimated bills’ etc, the aggrieved residents said they would be forced to charge Ikeja Electric to court.

Addressing newsmen, the Leader of residents, Osilaja Olaere said the electric company deliberately refused to give the community prepaid metres.

We are tired of being deceived by the Ikeja Electric. We are not going to accept estimated bills anymore. House rent is now cheaper than electricity.

We are not going to tolerate this anymore. We would continue to carry out peaceful protests until they hearken to our cry.” Osilaja said.

“For more than three years now, we have been cheated by Ikeja Electric and we are not going to take that any longer. We are shutting down payment as from today until they bring prepaid meters for us,” another resident said.

Also speaking, a prominent member of the community, Mr. Lanre Fatuyi said he has been engaging the Ikeja Electric on the matter for more six months without any positive response.

He said the community could not take it any more, charging the company to come and remove its wires from the community if it would not meter them.

He claimed that other communities within the state have been metered and paid less while they are charged more than what they consume.

Spokesman of the Ikeja Electric, Mr. Ayeni told newsmen that Ikeja electric had constraints in metering some community due to poor wiring of their houses.

According to him, “We are distributing prepaid metre. When we finish with one business unit, we would face another. We are having constraints pushing out all the metres at once due to the poor wiring of their houses. Anytime we get to a house that is well wired, we meter them immediately. For those whose houses are not well wired, we advise them to do the right thing.”

He added: “We are not charging a dime for meter, we only urge them to clear their bills before we give them their prepaid meter. I have pleaded with them and we have assured them that we would attend to all their requests. They should be patient.”


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