As official asks customers to pay N25,000 for pre-paid meter
As the new tariff regime by the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) commences, customers have protested arbitrary increase in their electricity bill for the month of June 2012.
The customers are also complaining that they are being asked to pay N25,000 for a pre-paid meter, as a way of avoiding the arbitrary charges, contrary to government announcement of providing the meters free.
Residents of Jakande Estate in Mile Two, Amuwo Odofin Local Government of Lagos State protested on Tuesday, July 11, 2012, when they stormed the PHCN office complaining of unwarranted hike in their bills, ranging from N7,000 to N11,000 for those who used to receive average monthly bills of about N2,000. This represents an increase of more than 300 percent.
Investigations revealed that apart from the tariff which has been increased from N7.30 to N12.45 per unit of consumption for residential rate (R2), the monthly energy consumption was arbitrarily increased for all the affected persons.For instance, a customer, Mr. A. Ganiyu whose average energy consumption over the past six months has been in the region of 200 units, was credited with about 600 units of energy consumption for the month of June.
The PHCN official further tried to explain the technicalities of the new tariff structure, noting that it is in two parts – tariff increase and tariff change. According to him, the tariff increase is reflected in the change from N7.30 to N12.45, while tariff change affects consumption. He also said that those affected by the bogus increase are people with faulty meters.
He then advised customers to procure a pre-paid meter by paying N25,000, promising that within one month the meter will be made available. When Vanguard visited the office of the Senior Manager, Public Affairs of the Oshodi District of PHCN, Mrs Haastrup, for official response to the matter, she was said not to be in the office.