The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Correspondents’ Chapel of Bayelsa State has described the estimated billing system of the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (PHEDC) as a rip-off.
It therefore called on the management of PHEDC to immediately commence the supply of pre-paid meters to customers.The statement was coming on the heels of numerous complaints by consumers in Yenagoa on the alleged inefficiency in the system.
Citing the case of exorbitant monthly estimated bill of between N5, 000 and N6, 000 at its chapel secretariat along Toolda road, Ekeki, Yenagoa, the Chairman of the Correspondent’s Chapel and Secretary, Kola Oredipe and Chris Eze, said PHEDC bill was unjustifiably high.
They faulted the attitude of the PHEDC officials who were always anxious to disconnect debtors.According to the union, “Sometimes in July this year, the office was disconnected and we decided not to pay for two months. Then we relied on alternative power source, especially as the PHEDC power supply was irregular.
“To our surprise, however, electricity bills were brought for the two-month period that the office was without public power. By the time we visited the PHEDC Business Office in Yenagoa, we were told that we ought to have notified them that we would not use their source for that period. We were shocked, since PHEDC ought to have a record of houses or buildings disconnected.
“Their statement further confirmed the inefficiency in PHEDC when the Correspondent’s Chapel office was disconnected on Thursday, December 8, 2016 despite the fact that we have cleared the current bill and part of outstanding as directed.
“When we met with the Yenagoa Business Manager on December 12, 2016 to complain that the office was erroneously disconnected, he offered his apology and directed a senior officer to ensure immediate reconnection.”
“One full week lapsed without reconnection despite a reminder call to the Business Manager on December 14, 2016. This was clearly lack of insensitivity. We do hope that the office will not be billed for electricity not consumed from the December 8, 2016.
The NUJ called on the state government to protect the citizens from ongoing extortion in the name of bulk billing, estimated billing, unjustified disconnection, harassment of customers and billing of a house that has been disconnected.