The slight improvement in electricity supply within Lokoja metropolis has become a bitter-sweet experience for residents as they now have to pay through their noses at month end.
Investigations reveal that electricity consumers in Lokoja, Kogi state capital, are currently agitated and may soon resort to mass protest against Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) over unrealistic electricity bills distributed to them.
It was gathered that in the last three months, electricity bills are been hiked on monthly basis with at least 30 percent increment.
It was confirmed that some residents who stay in one-room apartment currently pay as high as N12,700 as against N5,700 that was paid five months ago. Also, those residing in two bedroom flats gets N12,700 bill each month as well.
To make matters worst, our investigations revealed that the AEDC has devised what some call a ‘dubious means’ to get more revenue by separating customers in a building and giving them separate bill of #12,700 each which ordinarily supposed to be shared among the occupants of the building.
When our team visited a compound located at No 12, J J street, behind Ava Hotel Lokoja where there are few flats of residence, it was discovered that in that compound alone, the residents who are mostly low income earners are made to cough out over M380,000 every month on electricity bills as one- storey building which used to pay a bill of #8,700 now pays over #50,000 a month.
This is because each occupier of a flat in the one-storey building has been given as separate bill of over N12,700 each while a building housing a two bedroom flat and three ‘face-me-I-face-you’ room apartment are also being separately billed N12,700 each, instead of the N5,700 they were paying in May.
Our correspondent also learnt that the electricity bills kept on increasing since June when they was a slight improvement on the supply of electricity as there is always a N2,000 increment by each month without consideration to the biting economic hardships of the people.
It was learnt that several customers who went to complain at the AEDC office were turned back on the excuse that the Abuja headquarters of the transmission company was the one who gave the blanket monthly increments as they were helpless over the matter.
This, it was learnt, has angered some customers as some youths are planning to stage a mass protest any moment from now to compel AEDC to review the electricity bills.
One of the aggrieved customers, Mrs Anjara Danladi who spoke to our correspondent over the incessant hike in the electricity bills, said the bills brought was too harsh and anti masses and was not commensurate with the supply of the electricity nor did it put into cognisance the economic hardships of the customers and urged the AEDC management to immediately review hike or face the wrath of the people.
However, when our correspondent visited the AEDC office along IBB way near the UBA a woman who identified herself as Mrs Folashade and head of customers care unit said the bill has come to stay and that the customers have to bear the cost since for the weeks the electricity supply has been slightly improved.
When asked how the electricity bills kept on increasing every month with at least N2,000 citing the bills of June that was N8,700 per an apartment to N10,700 in July and now N12,700 by August, she said the bills may even increase to N15,700 by September and by December it may hit N20,700, saying since the people demanded for improvement in electricity supply, this is the price to pay for it.