Residents cry out over alleged IE’s fine, extortion
Residents of No. 1 Abule Ijesha Road, Yaba, Lagos State, have cried out over what they termed over-billing, extortion, arbitrary charges and injustice meted out to them by officials of Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company (IE). They also condemn allegations of unlawful tampering of transformer, unauthorized use of electricity supply, illegal reconnection and fine of N4,796,366.10, termed loss of revenue leveled against the building.
The Guardian learnt that the building alone generates 27 payment bills monthly, which means an electricity bill to each self-contained room. According to their last bill issued by IE, the rooms were billed N11,000 each, amounting to a total of N297,000.
Landlord of the house, Prince Wale Oyekoya, who told The Guardian he bought the property, which he pulled down and rebuilt in 2014, said when he approached the Shomolu Business District for prepaid meters, three bills of N732,189.62 were issued to him as outstanding bill of previous occupants, with two of the bills suspended as far back as 2010 and 2014.
“The building was completed in July 2016 and tenants moved in on August 15, 2016. We have had several meetings with Shomolu marketers that the outstanding were not our bills, but all our pleas were not granted. We paid N50, 000 out of these bills before we could be reconnected. We also paid N350,000 for cables and feeders to fix the transformer, we bought recline wire and poles with the sum of N600,000, totaling N1,000,000. With all these expenses, we expect IE to be passionate and considerate, but instead they are threatening to disconnect us if we don’t pay N700,000 owed before we got here,” he said.
For over a year, the house depended on a standby generating set supplying the house with electricity since it forcefully disconnected itself from the transformer.
“We reported to the National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), and we were promised meter. We were told to pay all the outstanding we generated, which we did and we were reconnected. We were surprised that after this, IE fined us a penalty of N4,796,366.10, N150, 000 per room for the period we disconnected the house from the transformer, accusing us of unlawful tampering with transformer, unauthorized use of electricity supply, and illegal reconnection.”