Estimated billings killing us - Bauchi residents accuse JEDC of extortion

  The Jos Electricity Distribution Company (JEDC) has been accused of extorting its customers in Bauchi and unnecessarily delaying the provi...

 

The Jos Electricity Distribution Company (JEDC) has been accused of extorting its customers in Bauchi and unnecessarily delaying the provision of prepaid meters to customers.

To ensure that electricity consumers were properly charged for the electricity they consume, the Federal Government had in September, 2020 rolled out the National Mass Metering Programme (NMMP) to eliminate arbitrary estimated billings, among other purposes.

Almost a year since the commencement of the mass metering programmes, Bauchi residents have complained that JEDC has yet to make prepaid meters available to them but rather continues to charge them for their monthly electricity consumption based on estimated billings.

Some residents who spoke alleged that JEDC is extorting them through estimated billing, adding that they are being charged more than what they truly consume monthly.

Our reporter interviewed some residents in Bauchi area of Federal Low-cost, Aisha Baba, and Muhammad Idris. They all claimed that the amount of money they have been paying monthly on the JED’s estimated billing was not in line with their consumption.

Alhaji Baba claimed that the bills he is paying in both his house and shop are too exorbitant, informing that, “I pay N6,500 as electricity bill in my shop, while in my house, I pay N4,000 monthly.

“The bills are too exorbitant despite the fact that what we are paying to JEDC is much compared to the actual electricity being supplied to us. The only solution to stop this extortion is for JEDC to provide all of its customers with prepaid meters. With this, we will only be paying for the electricity we consume.”

A consumer who operates a business centre at Wunti Dada, where the Bauchi State Polytechnic is located, Hajiya Halima Sani, made similar claims to those of Alhaji Baba, saying that estimated billing has not been helpful to customers.

According to her, making prepaid meter available to its customers, JEDC would no longer lose revenues and also ensure that customers are paying for the actual electricity they consume.

“It is not been easy paying these estimated billings JEDC brings for me every month. The money I am paying is high compared to the actual electricity I consume in my shop. This is nothing but cheating. Let the company expedite action on providing prepaid meters. With prepaid meter, I am sure I will be paying per the electricity I used,” Hajiya Sani said.

When contacted for his reaction to the allegations levelled against his company, JEDC Regional Manager in Bauchi, Auwalu Babajada, denied the allegations of extortion.

According to him, contrary to customers’ claim that JEDC was not providing customers with prepaid meters, the company had actually installed 22,000 metres to its customers, adding that this was being done in phases.

While appealing to customers to be patient and cooperate with the distribution company, Babajada assured that by the first week of September, another batch of customers’ homes would be metered.

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