The dust raised by the employees of the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) due to the strike action embarked upon is yet to settle in some parts of the Niger State region as customers insist that the performances of the company are far below expectations and so should be made to sit up.
Customers in Niger State are insisting that exploitations, part of the allegations that prompted the industrial unrest by members of the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) and lack of good customer relationship are very real.
Many customers are crying foul over excessive and discriminatory billing systems by the AEDC when compared to the level of services provided even as many of the customers on the other hand are enjoying electricity, paying little or nothing at the end of the month.
Some of the customers had complained that before now they recharge like N2, 000 and it will last for two weeks or more, but lately, the card now lasts for less than a week. Either they go for another recharge or are forced to remain in darkness.
In some areas, customers enjoy uninterrupted supply while others scarcely have light due to faulty or completely broken down transformers and after such communities had taxed themselves to procure new transformers or installation components the AEDC will claim ownership without any refund.
People with pre-paid metres are assumed to be paying more than customers on direct connection as those of them with higher power-consuming appliances like Airconditioners on monthly basis consume more than they pay on estimated billings, this anormalies the customers want the AEDC to evolve ways of checking to ensure equal treatment to all.
Investigations by our correspondent however revealed that, while some customers’ claim of being over billed or using electricity through direct connection and paying little may not be far from the true picture, the AEDC confirmed that it is facing some ‘technical errors’.
When our correspondent visited the Bosso Area office of the AEDC where allegations of over billing and other forms of exploitations are more, the Area Manager, Engineer Yahaya Kura said he was not authorised to speak on the matter and referred us to the Regional headquarters.
Alhaji Adamu Mohammed, the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of Niger regional office comprising; Bida, Kontagora, Minna and Bosso told our correspondent that the problems which gave rise to the fault and customers’ complaints will soon be resolved.
Part of the problems that are giving rise to customers complaints, Adamu Mohammed said is due to an inadequate number of metres for the 27, 000 estimated customers in the zone who have indicated interest to have metres and out of which only about 5, 000 has been supplied.
He however declined comments when asked who to pay for the damages caused by the ‘technical error’ and if the affected customers are compensated for the computer error caused by the AEDC, but simply said, “I assure you that the problems will soon be over”.
Apart from the short of metering and the technical errors which are being remedied, the PRO decried the activities of some unpatriotic customers who indulge in alterations or by-pass of metres and illegal connections thereby causing severe damage to the company’s facilities.