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Businesses suffer in Lagos as power supply drops

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Nationwide blackout imminent as electricity workers join ASUU protest

By AYOOLA OLAOLUWA

Some business owners in Lagos have decried the drop in power being supplied by Ikeja Electric (IE) Plc and Eko Electricity Distribution Company (EKEDC) in some parts of Lagos State. They made their views known in separate interviews at the weekend.

A printer, Mr. Yakuba Aigbona, said the power situation in the Coker area of Surulere had been very poor.

“It is unfortunate that I have to rely on a generator for running my business and with the high cost of diesel, things have not been easy.

“I am begging EKEDC to come to our rescue by finding a lasting solution to this problem because even when others have light, we don’t normally have which is very frustrating,” Aigbona said.

Another businessman, Mr. Michael Ajakaiye said that he was paying about N40,000 bill monthly for his three-bedroom office without enjoying regular supply.

“My office is at Lagos Island and I can tell you categorically that the supply has dropped in recent weeks and we have been relying on generators to run our operations,” he said.

A beer parlor operator in the Iyana-Ipaja area, Uche Madu, said the epileptic power supply was affecting his business, forcing him to close earlier than the usual time.

“We close around 9.00 p.m. now because there is no light and we cannot power our generator when the customers are few.

“In the past when the supply was better, we used to stay until 11.00pm whether there were customers or not but we can’t do that now.”

A group, the All Electricity Consumers Protection Forum, had written a letter to the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), urging the body to halt the implementation of Service Reflective Tariffs (SRT) by the discos.

The letter signed by the group’s National Coordinator, Mr. Adeola Samuel-Ilori, said the discos had failed to live up to their end of the bargain of proving quality electricity supply to Nigerians which informed the increase in tariffs.

Under the SRT, the tariff classification is based on the quality of service and therefore, divided into five Bands (A to E).

This is measured by the average availability of power supply over a month, interruptions (frequency and duration), voltage levels, and other service parameters.

With the revised tariff regime, Non-MD customers in Band A, with a minimum of 20 hours daily are paying N51.22/Kwh.

Band B customers with a minimum of 16 hours daily are expected to be charged N46.93/Kwh; while Band C customers with a minimum of 12 hours daily would be charged N37.95/Kwh.
Customers in Bands D and E, with a minimum of eight hours and four hours per day, respectively, were not impacted by the tariff revision.

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Also at the weekend, residents of Atapa community in Command Secondary School, Ipaja axis, Agbado Oke-Odo LCDA, Alimosho Local Government Area of Lagos State, stormed the Ikeja Electric office to protest what they called “arbitrary and indiscriminate billings.”

The residents displayed placards with various inscriptions such as “We are tired of paying for darkness’ and “No prepaid meter, no payment”; ‘Ikeja Electric is ripping us off our hard-earned money” among others.

Business Hallmark findings revealed that though electricity generation had improved in the last one week, Nigerians are still largely in darkness.

According to an industry performance report for June 2022 compiled by the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) obtained by our correspondent on Friday, electricity generation improved by 2.96% on Friday, June 24, 2022, to 86,983.17MWh compared to 84,481.7MWh generated on June 23.

On Monday, 20th June, electricity generation was 79,578.43MWh; 19th June 75,001.81MWh; 18th June 79,864.63MWh; 16th June 77,964.55MWh; 15th June 79,380.6MWh and 14th June 14 78,202.37MWh.

Electricity generated on other days of the month are: 13th June 66,398.84MWh; 12th June 67,790.MWh; 11th June 83,524.39MWh; 8th June 76,375.48MWh; 7th June 76,851.08MWh; 6th June 75,197.46MWh; 5th June 70,943.35MWh; 4th June 62,837.51MWh; 2nd June 75,342.22MWh and 1st June 75,342.22MWh.

Speaking on the development, the Chairman of the community, Alhaji Hassan Wahab, said in decent climes, monthly billings are ascertained based on consumption, size and type of apartment and its attendant gadgets and most importantly, tariff.

“Never in the history of electricity distribution in practical terms are monthly billings distributed/appropriated on a uniform basis like a levy across board undermining the “type and size of apartment, consumption and tariff.”

While noting that the Marketing Department of the Ikeja Electric generates its monthly billings to consumers in their community without recourse to business ethics, equity and fair play, he said the style is laced with a monopolistic tendency for the simple fact that they are stuck with #Ikejaelectric in their axis and no ready alternative to beckon to for succour for now.

He added that “a close study of the attached schedule randomly taken in the community would reveal that all your company does monthly, is perhaps, project a profit margin and uniformly distribute a predetermined figure in form of ‘bills” to postpaid consumers across the board to achieve the set target.

“Yes, the majority of our community residents are still on postpaid for the simple fact that your company has deliberately refused to meter the willing consumers even though they have completed the #Maps KYC registration and have forwarded their ARN numbers to your office.”

Wahab said pending when they provide the community with pre-paid meters within the next 90 days, all arbitrary and indiscriminate billings for April and May be reversed within the next 30 days and necessary adjustments made in favour of the respective consumers.

 

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