A veterinary doctor resident in the Ketu area of Lagos has raised the alarm over extortion by the Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company (IKEDC).
The doctor, who asked not to be named, accused IKEDC of underbilling his neighbours while serving him exorbitant bills despite using small units of electricity.
Before the coronavirus lockdown, IKEDC billed the him N11,000 monthly. However, during the lockdown, they did not bill him while they supplied electricity to his house. Later, they billed him N70,000 for March to December.
“From January, IKEDC stopped billing us. They also stopped giving us light as they usually would. But my wife and I did not mind as we usually left the house at 6 am and returned around 8 pm. To our surprise, in September, IKEDC showed up and billed us over N300,000 for January to August 2021. In October, they started billing me N45,000 per month,” he said.
Confused, he reached out to one Funmilayo, the IKEDC head marketer assigned to Ketu, to ask why it took them so long to bill him and why they billed him outrageously.
“I asked Funmi why I had not received bills since the lockdown was relaxed. But she said she was giving our bills to a particular neighbour. I told her no one ever gave us them to us,” he said.
The doctor also asked Funmi why the bill for his house did not amount to N300,000 during the COVID-19 lockdown when he and his wife were at home throughout but increased by over 400 percent when they were rarely at home.
“She dismissed the conversation. Whenever I called her to talk about it, she hardly answered the calls. She is a difficult person,” he said.
He also said he suspects that Funmi might be defrauding him with outrageous billing. According to him, IKEDC officials used to give him bills containing his house number, but that has not been the case lately.
“Recently, I needed to use my utility bill to apply for something in an organisation. The organisation declined it because the bill had no house number. It then dawned on me that a fraudulent game was being played,” he said.
“We use LCD light; we outsource most of what we need. So, how did my wife and I ever consume electric units worth N20,000, let alone N45,000 in a month?”
The doctor accused IKEDC of disconnecting his cable from the pole, usually on Thursdays, and asking him to pay a reconnection fee of N3,000 if he wanted his cable reconnected.
“In the last one week, I have been to their office twice to pay. I have been paying, so it does not seem as though I was unwilling to pay, but it is an unfair bill. They embarrass me by pulling my cable down,” he said.
Three months ago, IKEDC allocated prepaid metres to many households in the neighbourhood, but the doctor said he didn’t get one. One of the men hired to distribute the metres to houses across his neighbourhood told him that someone else had signed and received his.
“I contacted the marketer to know why this happened. She specifically said that the one meant for me was not given because I was not available when the metres were distributed. She said I’d have to wait for the next batch, but when?” he wondered.
FIJ placed several calls to Funmi, the IKEDC marketer assigned to Ketu, but her number was unreachable. A text was sent to her phone but she had not responded as of press time.
When FIJ contacted Akin Ayeni, the Public Relations Officer of IKEDC for comments, he referred our reporter to the Undertaking Manager at the IKEDC Ketu office.
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