Image: The author
Earlier this week I spoke with the Business Manager of the Sagamu Business Hub, and well, sedentary lifestyle doesn’t appeal to me. Not only because one is easily deceived about happenings on the streets, but also because one is easily deluded into thinking whatever he knows is the ultimate, and whatever he says is final.
Well, not anymore.
Last month I was billed for 242 units, thousands of people in the Hub were likewise billed! It didn’t matter how much electricity you had consumed, or how little; if for whatever reason your consumption reading was “off-track”, you were billed N4, 500 (fixed charge of N625 inclusive). I had utilised only 130 units or so…
This month, we were billed for 192 units across board, whereas I for one had only used 100 units, or so. Those arbitrary 192 units translate to some N3 000! These are very verifiable facts. Lord knows what will come next month. Yet you can only convert to prepaid meters after rectifying your debts.
And to add salt to injury, a senior official of the Sagamu Business Hub can authoritatively say “it is impossible” that I use about 120 units in a month! This is an impunity-laden insult to my person and by extension to the woman on the street who uses a hundred units and is forced to pay for twice that through ridiculous estimates each month! If he can tell how much light we (will) use in our homes, then why do we need meters?
This cannot continue; it must not be allowed to!
Take for example this woman whose bill is N52 617! Her meter reads 1300; all she has in her shop are two freezers that do not run for longer than a few hours each day so her soft drinks and juices do not freeze over, two light bulbs and one ceiling fan. Her bill reads 3636.
This month, she has been billed for 192 units, bringing her total units to 3828! That is (3828 – 1300 =) 2528 extra units estimated over the three years her meter has been installed. That is N40 726 at N16.11 per unit. Apparently she only owes N11 891 (= N52 617 – N40 726).
People like her will not pay. Not because they are bad citizens, or bad customers as she was called by the BM, but because no sane person will pay N52 617 for a debt of N11 891. The orthodox approach is to write letters. Sometimes the letters are allegedly rejected by one Mr Idowu who is only interested in such insane payments! Sometimes, the only option these people have is to bribe officials to not disconnect them; after all, the (estimated) bills keep coming even when you are disconnected!
This is the era of enlightenment, and we cannot continue to be taken for fools. No, not anymore. It is insane for someone to sit in his office and expect some 40 000 letters while customers wait in the darkness of disconnection while the letters are pushed about, or unofficially expect them to quicken the process by offering bribes called inducements, inducements that can actually benefit the company by clearing debts.
I strongly believe that Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company [IBEDC] has reasonable customers, as much as I hope that the leadership of IBEDC is reasonable to consider presently unorthodox methods that actually work outside the confines of an office as well as beyond the procedures of letter-writing protocols and the egos that oversee them.
I am therefore appealing to the leadership of IBEDC to pay attention to the legitimate groanings of their customers before we are frustrated to seek legal action or alternatively to revolt and not pay anymore. Yes, we will be disconnected, but yes, we survive whenever there isn’t power supply anyway and sometimes for days at a stretch!
Ayokunle Ayk Adeleye writes from Sagamu. He considers himself a peace-loving Nigerian who stands for what is right.
PS: Sagamu Business Hub covers Sagamu, Odogbolu, Ogijo, Iperu, Mowe, Owode, and the towns around…