Residents and customers of the Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC) have berated the private power producing company for lacking the technical depth to serve the teeming populace within their jurisdiction.
OSUN DEFENDER team, in an opinion poll conducted in the state capital and some other towns showed that majority of the residents are dissatisfied with the services rendered by the company, but only had to patronise the outfit due to absence of a substitutable alternative.
Majority of the residents disclosed that IBEDC is exploiting customers through crazy bills and deliberate refusal to issue prepaid metre to the public who have paid for the item for over three years, some for even four years and even more. According to Mr. Olabisi Onabajo, a resident of Osogbo, the issue of crazy bill is becoming unbearable, saying there is no justification for it at all and the power company must be checked by the regulatory commission so as to protect the masses from exploitation.
The economy is hard and the people do not have adequate resources to meet the rising cost of power, yet, the company is serving crazy bill for the people to deal with and should there be failure to meet up with the payment, they get disconnected without necessary measures. In his view, Mr. Kasali Oyetola, a fashion designer, disclosed that IBEDC officials no longer read the analog metres, they just bring bills indiscriminately and never bother about the complaints one presents to them.
“In the event that any of their officials put down your complaints, it takes like eternity for them to correct such anomaly. In fact, they treats customers like a piece of shit maybe because they know we do not have alternative”, he added.
Kasali stressed that IBEDC is not serious about giving out prepaid metres because it will check their excesses, especially in respect of crazy bills and various self-designed means of extortion in one way or the other. A source who identified himself as Mr. Dele called on the Federal Government to come to the aid of the Nigerian masses, especially in the area of controlling crazy bills, which according to him can be checkmated through even distribution of prepaid metre.
He also emphasised the need for the regulatory agency to embark on massive oversight function to ensure that power distribution company do not just enjoy undue advantage over the people. He said the agency had on two occasions increased electricity tariff in favour of the companies, saying it is time to deal with their excesses. Elder Victor Erinfolabi, an Instrument Technician opined that the issue of IBEDC is fundamental and ought to be dealt with radically.
“First, the service they render is not stable, some communities across the state have been in darkness for months without solution or any attempt to appeal to them or even share with them the situational report on the issues, he said”.
In the view of Mr Oloyede Samuel, a retired Public Servant, he berated the private outfit running electricity in Nigeria as a whole, saying they have fallen short of expectation from Nigerians and there is a desperate need for the regulatory commission to check their excesses.
He added that the crazy bills situation was getting out of control, saying the IBEDC due to its need to meet certain targets at the end of every month, would always transfer the burden to the consumers, which he said, is unethical and illegal.
In her reaction, the PRO of IBEDC, Osogbo District Office, Mrs. Kikelomo Owoeye disclosed that the company is working towards having an efficient service delivery to its numerous customers across the state and would not relent until it achieve the set out objectives.
She disclosed that the company inherited a lot of outdated facilities and it is working to ensure that all of its facilities are upgraded and those that needs to be replaced would be done in the facility upgrading objectives, which is aimed at efficient service delivery.
“We are meeting with communities that are in darkness and discussing feasible ways the company is intending to employ towards resolving their unending blackout crisis and at the same time, we are embarking on facility enumeration exercise to enable us know the adequate facilities requirement of our customers such as metres, transformers, poles, cables and many facilities that would help in adequate service delivery.
All of these, when eventually put in place would help us to deal with the issues of crazy bills and inadequate availability of prepaid metres, not only in Osun but in all the state of the South-West”, she added.