By AYOOLA OLAOLUWA
Many electricty consumers were on Monday thrown into confusion following the decision of Electricity Dictribution Companies (Discos) operating in the country to clandentinely increase electricity tarrifs by about 100 percent.
Bussiness Hallmark reliably garthered that the increment was effected last week Tuesday, but many Nigerians were not aware of it until Monday morning when they visited the offices of their electricity providers to complain about their inability to load the token generated for energy purchased.
Our correspondent who purchased energy of N5,000 last Tuesday was unable to load the token generated for him by an Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company (IKEDC) vendor.
All attempts to load the token failed, with ‘X AAAAA’ message always displaying on the monitor. Thinking it was probably due to a network problem, this writer kept trying until Monday, April 19 but didn’t record any success.
Feeling frustrated, he decided to visit the Jankara (Ijaiye-Ojokoro) office of the IKEDC to lodge a complaint. He however met a huge crowd of over 500 customers already waiting to be attended to over the same complaint.
With tally number 507, our correspondent waited for over three hours before he could be attended to. The customer care office who attended to him apologised profusely, blaming the hiccup on the reconfiguring of theit tariffs template.
The reporter was promptly issued three sets of tokens (20 numbers each), totalling 60. He was very happy when the successful sign popped up after he had entered all the 60 numbers.
However, he was shocked to find out that only 100.8 units was allocated to him instead of the usual over 200 units. He quickly raced back to the IKEDC office. And after waiting for another one hour, he was attended to by another customer service agent who explained to him that his tariff has been increased by about 100%.
“That was why you couldn’t load the first token generated for you because your tarrif code had been reconfigured to accommodate the new rate”, the official explained.
Some of the complainants who spoke to BH also confirmed the sudden and unexpected hike in electricity tariff.
“Before now, I used to purchase a little over 100 units for N2,500. But I was shocked when they gave me only 51.2 units for the same amount. What pained me most is the fact that I wouldn’t have know if I had not visited their office to complain that I could not load the rechsrge token generated for me.
“I have been calling them since last Wednesday, but instead of telling me the truth, they were telling me to either check the battery of my loader, or that a magnetic body, whatever that means, must be blocking my metre and that I should move the loading machine close to it.
“They are just fraudsters, making me to go through all the stress when they could have simply informed me that they had reconfigured their system”, the visibly angry customer, Alhaji Lekan Badmus stated.
BH findingd revealed that the increment cuts across all the distribution units scattered across the country.
Efforts to reach IKEDC’s Head of Corporate Communications, Felix Ofulue, were not succesful. While calls made to his line didnt connect, he had yet to reply to a text message sent to him.