Abia stakeholders reject EEDC’s planned tariff increase

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Aba electricity consumers have rejected Enugu Electricity Distribution Company’s (EEDC) planned tariff increase in the state, citing the company’s poor management and poor services as reasons for rejection.

The Customers spoke during a “Stakeholders Consultations on Extraordinary Tariff Review Application” meeting in Aba on Wednesday.

Mrs Ifeoma Ezeka, from World Bank Estate, Aba, said EEDC has proved to be worse than NEPA in servicing consumers.

“We only get light by 12 a.m and it is taken by 4 a.m and not in the day so we cannot do anything in the night with electricity.

“The issue is not about tariff increase, but it is about getting things in order by EEDC.

“So I do not support tariff increase, but EEDC should recover the lost funds to improve facilities and services and forget the increase,” Ezeka said.

Mr Johnson Irogbulam from Ogbor Hill area said that considering the activities of EEDC staff, who give single flats up to N20,000 as monthly bills, they should not think of increasing tariff.

“If people are given a bill of N20,000 for a flat resident, that is more than 50 per cent increase EEDC is seeking, so it does not need tariff increase in Abia,” he said.

On his part, Mr Jonathan Efiaworia said EEDC is not properly covering Abia resulting in energy waste, stressing that improved management and recouping funds owed would give them the money they seek through tariff increase.

He said that the increase would not amount to improved infrastructure and better treatment of customers, but would ensure bill-paying consumers pay more for what others steal or is lost on the lines.

Chief Ike Opiigwe from Ogbor Hill said without the Distribution Company taking responsibility to maintain their equipment, improve their management, “the move to increase tariff will be a Christmas bonus to EEDC”.

He urged EEDC to stop leakages in finance and power supply to increase their income, noting that the DISCO should check its staff who steal from it.

“Some EEDC staff have customers who they collect money from and who do not pay their bills so we do not agree to the increase because we are suffering and contributing money to running of EEDC,” he said.

He however suggested that if they wanted to increase tariff they should not add more that 15 per cent.

Earlier, the Managing Director of EEDC, Mr Okey Nwosu, said issues for discussion on the tariff was very important to enable stakeholders contribute to the company’s progress.

He said there was the need for tariff increase now because the cost of doing business had increased for the company, noting that the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission will take the discussion back to Abuja.

Nwosu, represented by Head, CTO, Mr Vincent Ekwuekwu, said their services would improve if tariff is increased, which is the reason for the consultation.

Mr Emeka Onyewule, the NERC representative from Abuja, said Aba is very important to the business of EEDC, but that it requires money to improve services.

He said stakeholders should contribute to the discourse to arrive at something better for parties but with the mindset that the government could increase the tariff without stakeholders’ input.

He said the stakeholders should not allow the DISCOs to shut down because people could run generators. (NAN)

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