Communities Chide IKDC Over Irregular Power Supply, Excessive Billing
IN the last few months, communities under the jurisdiction of Ikeja Distribution Company (IKDC), Lagos State, have been suffering in silence, as a result of epileptic power supply and excessive billings.
Areas like Abule-Egba, Ile-Epo/Oja, Ekoro, Oke-Ira, Meiran, Oke-Abiye, Kollignton and Iyana-Ipaja, among other communities are the major victims of poor service by IKDC. While some areas experience two to three hours of power supply daily, others can only boast of power supply once a week, forcing them to rely solely on generating sets.
It was alleged that the power distribution company is fraudulently diverting power meant for the areas to nearby Industrial estates.
At present, restaurant operators, welders, barbers, frozen foods operators and other artisans have begun to seek for other means of livelihood and those who could not cope are leaving the areas en masse because there seems to be no solution in sight.
Commercial activities in these communities have been paralysed. Most of the shops have been closed; the few others that are functional are operating skeletal services, due to cost of fuel.
For instance, in Abule-Egba, Ekoro, Oke-Abiye and Oke-Ira, the few hours of power supply comes only at mid-night when no artisan could work.
Worried by this development, the aggrieved communities are taking steps to seek redress, and ensure that they enjoy the service they pay for.
Residents of Oke-Abiye, Agbado Oke-Odo Local Council Development Area (LCDA) through its Community Development Association (CDA), have flayed the distribution company for shoddy service delivery.
The CDA Chairman, Mr. Balogun Akeem who spoke with The Guardian said despite procuring its poles and transformer through individual levies and donations, they were denied regular power supply, which has paralysed activities in the community.
The Guardian learnt that the problem had persisted in the community before the privatization exercise. It was gathered that when the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), issued crazy bills to the community, despite irregular power supply, the community called for the disconnection of the transformer from the power source. That lasted for several months, till the problem was rectified.
In Abule-Egba and Ekoro area, The Guardian learnt that the landlords and the CDA are putting heads together to ensure that there is stable power supply. The landlords said they have given the distribution company enough time to put things in good shape, but since they have refused to correct the anomalies, coupled with the high billing, their next option is to embark on a protest.
Just last week, youths of Oke-Ira community in Ojodu LCDA, stormed the community’s undertaken office to demand better services from the power distribution company.
The protesters, who registered their displeasure, accused the power distribution company of being fraudulent in their dealings, insisting that the power meant for the area may have been diverted to Ogba Industrial estate.
They claimed that both big companies, small scale enterprises and residents should enjoy equal services paid for, warning that if there is no improvement the entire office will be shut down.
Speaking on behalf of the group, Lanre Fatuyi said the degeneration in the power supply in the area became worrisome within the last five months. While other areas within the Ogba/Aguda jurisdiction would be enjoying relatively constant power supply, areas like Ayo Alabi, Second Junction and the LCDA secretariat road would be in perpetual darkness.
They also accused the company of issuing them what they called “crazy bills”, noting that metres were no longer read before bills are issued.
Victims of excessive billing, which include occupants of 16, Abdullahi Street, said they were billed N54, 000 for the current month for only four shops and two rooms.
Fatuyi explained, “We are being taken for granted by the power company in this area because we are peaceful and law abiding. But if the light is not restored, we will go violent. We are warning those in charge of disconnection to steer clear of our houses. If we see anyone, we will prove a point. There shall be no bills distribution, no disconnection and no payment until we feel the light has improved.”
While addressing the protesters, the team leader of the company who simply identified herself as Mrs. Olaoye, said it was what the distribution company gets that it distributes to the area.
She complained of low power generation across the country, noting that the Noble Oluwa feeder that supplies power to the area recently had some challenge with four poles damaged by rainstorm.
Olaoye explained; “I know people of Oke-Ira community are peace-loving and we are not taking you for granted. While I cannot guarantee when light will be restored I want to let you know that I have taken pictures of your protests and details of your complaints and already sent them to our head office for quick resolution. I want to assure you that solution will come our way soon, but please let us maintain the culture of peace we have here.”