Estimated billing: We feel robbed - FCT residents
Despite a directive by the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, for distribution companies, Discos, to make meters available to consumers, they have defiantly continued billing consumers with estimated tariff. As reactions continue to trail this fraudulent practice, some Abuja residents, who spoke to Williams ABAH and David LAWANI, reopened the conversation of their plight in the hands of Discos. Excerpts:
ELIJAH UGOCHUKWU: For me, estimated billing is a form of corruption. With the metering system you use what you pay for. Unlike estimated billing where figures are concocted to extort money from customers. It is usually not the actual value of what you consume.
Government should either distribute or subsidize these meters so that people can have access to them rather than waiting for power holding company to keep playing games with them. It is unfortunate that consumers are allowed to source for meters themselves when there are bodies with such mandate.
Access to and affordability of the meters would make it easier for everyone instead of estimated billing that is criminal and beyond everyone's reach. There must also be close monitoring of the meters distribution by bodies charged with the responsibility.
GOMINA SUNDAY: Government needs to devote more effort towards ensuring that meters are available to every Nigerian at lesser cost because estimated billing is dubious. It defrauds Nigerians and imposes charges on what they do not consume.
Estimated billing is not helping us at all. For example, where I live in Durumi, I pay not less than N21,000 for a two bedroom apartment, which is not fair. Complaints about unfair treatment of electricity customers are very disturbing. You need to come to the area. We are not happy with estimated billing.
Metering is the only solution to everyone’s challenge in terms of electricity in this country. If relevant bodies can provide meters for everybody, I can tell you we would be done with a major challenge in electricity consumption.
If my meter is showing a sign that my unit is no longer sufficient, it behoves on me to go and do what is necessary if I don’t want to stay in darkness. If government can make meters available for consumer it would make a huge impact in the power sector.
TAIYE UKANA: Nigeria appears to be perpetually programmed for darkness because series of actions have been taken to address power challenges. Or perhaps, some persons do not want this country to work. If not, we should not be talking about metering or have anything to do with estimated billing.
I live in Abuja and the area I reside hardly use meter. We consume electricity and every month they just bring what they imagine as our bill. Sometimes we don’t have power supply for weeks yet they bring estimated bills for us to pay. That, to me, is a disservice to the conscience of the nation and the people the government is meant to serve.
We should be seen to pay for what we consume not the other way round. Metering saves a lot of pains and eases off consumption. If you don’t use you don’t pay. So, I think metering is the best thing for us as a nation. I urge those consigned with making meters available to be more efficient in their duties. They must do everything necessary to ensure that meters are available for every household.
RAYMOND OKON: For me, I prefer metering to estimated billing. Meters display what you consume, unlike estimated billing where the officers of AEDC, bring outrageous bills that do not match consumption rate.
Seriously, government is also responsible for this short-change. There was a time the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, gave a directive that PHCN should not disconnect houses that are not metered.
Had the directive been enforced it wouldn't have resulted in a situation where Discos give out estimated bills without matching the consumption rate.
Recently, PHCN officials came to my estate at Abacha road to disconnect light and were almost engaged in a fight with youths in the area. They came with outrageous bills, for light that is not even constant.
ESTHER ADOYI: Anytime I read, or hear about poor management of electricity in Nigeria I feel bad. Our electricity supply is not effective while neighbouring countries like Ghana celebrate uninterrupted power supply.
I don't know why we hate what is good in this country? The management of PHCN are aware of all these sharp practices engaged by their staff but they don't put measures in place to checkmate them. How do they arrive at some of this outrageous bills on houses that have no meters?
The worse thing is that when you ask why your bill is not commensurate with what you consume, they will tell you, they charge based on the structure of the building.
My suggestion is that authorities of PHCN should collaborate with Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission to make meters easily accessible and affordable, so that each house can have their meters.
CHIDI AGWU: When NEPA was privatised in Nigeria, our hope came alive as we expected total overhaul and rebranding of electricity supply in the country. But the reverse is the case. Estimated billings has short-changed many Nigerians.
For me, metering is the global best practice in determining the rate of consumption and the bill what has been consumed. So there is need for government to address all these issues.
The epileptic power supply has been the major challenge facing economic development in the country. Yet electricity consumers have to pay through their noses. Government has to come up with a policy that will address all this metering issue once and for all.