Electricity users in Warri and environs have decried the escalating bills the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) give them amidst poor power supply.
“I occupy a two-bedroom apartment. Sometime last year, I was paying N5,000, some months later it was increased to N8,000 and I complained to the bill distributor. I was surprised to receive a N25, 000 bill on Monday, November 15. The same applies to my neighbours. Where are we heading to in this country?” said a retired civil servant, Samson Onogide. “I do not have an air conditioner or an electric cooker in my house. My children are not living with me. So I do not know the reason for the sudden increase. Please BEDC should do something now.”
He added that the billing had soared astronomically even when the power supply had remained erratic.
Another electricity user, Kingsley Osarodion, expressed disgust over the unsubstantiated billing, accusing the electricity provider of unlawfully milking the people.
“This building is our secretariat and I stayed in one of the rooms at the boy’s quarters. It is not a factory neither do we manufacture anything here. Our members hardly come around and we hold meeting here monthly or bi-monthly and everyone returns to their various places of work,” explained Mr Osarodion. “Before now, we were paying N7,000, later it was increased to N12,000, then to N21,000. We complained to the management and they promised to amend it.”
Continuing, he disclosed, “The following month, we were given N24,000. After two months, they increased it to N27,000. The last they brought on Monday is above N40,000. I am using this medium to call BEDC to order before we embark on a serious protest to their offices.”
A widow and mother of three, Onome Smart, said that the economic situation in the country was becoming unbearable for her.
Mrs Smart, who spoke angrily in pidgin, expressed disgust at the skyrocketing monthly bill from BEDC. She asked the electricity firm to come over and remove its wire from her house.
Also, Tobi Olajide urged the BEDC management to work out a modality to ensure every electricity consumer had a prepaid meter to avoid unnecessary billings.
“BEDC has no excuse for the arbitrary billing. All they need do is to issue a meter to every consumer rather than giving people estimated billings,” said Mr Olajide.
Meanwhile, a management employee of the BEDC, who elected to remain anonymous as he was not mandated to speak for the firm, said that the National Mass Metering Programme (NMMP) was ongoing in the BEDC’s catchment states which include Edo, Delta, Ekiti and Ondo States.
He noted that the NMMP was initiated by the federal government and aimed to address estimated billings in the electricity industry.
The consumers urged the management of the BEDC to adjust their billing pattern “before it results in something else.”