A Lagos-based lawyer, Tope Alabi has asked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to probe and – if found culpable – prosecute Ikeja Electric Plc officials over alleged deliberate illegal disconnection and incorrect billing.
Mr. Alabi asserted that despite having a pre-paid metre since February 2021 and not being indebted to Ikeja Electric, he was wrongfully billed the sum of N466,484.56 as cumulative bills from March till November, 2021.
He said notwithstanding following all procedures and involving the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Ikeja Electric denied him access to buy electricity units.
This, he explained, had cut off electricity to his law firm at Ikeja for months, resulting in his spending N6,000 daily to fuel for his generating set for the chambers.
Alabi whose law firm has been at No. 1 (Old No.4) Fadeyi Street, Off Awolowo Way, Ikeja, Lagos State since January 1, 2018 till date, stated that it was to avoid such irregular billing that he secured the prepaid meter.
In his January 5, 2022 letter to the agency, Alabi requested a probe of Ikeja Electric Plc systems “that roll out automatic charges” whether consumed or not; “Ikeja Electric books of accounts” containing records of charges collected from customers; and “Ikeja Electric Plc mode of operations” among others.
Alabi said: “The property belonged to late Afolabi Mohammed. There was an old meter with Account No. “0100347913” which served the office between January 2018 and 9 February 2021 when a prepaid meter I applied for was installed and I commenced use of the prepaid meter on February 10, 2021 until the credit on it exhausted on March 11, 2021;
“I could not recharge anymore. I started using my generators from 11 March, 2021 till on 23 October, 2021 when I was able to load the credit I bought in May 2021. Before and after the credit finished on 16 December, 2021, 1 approached Ikeja Electric Pic to purchase more credit.
“The officers/workers of Ikeja Electric Pic denied me access to buy credit on ground that I am indebted to Ikeja Electric Plc as follows: April 2021 charges N127,703.76; N9,851.45 from March 2021 to November 2021 totaling: N88,663.05; unexplained charges of N250,117.75; totalling N466,484.56.
“Meanwhile, I cleared all outstanding bills of the sum of N116,000 on the old meter on March 2, 2021.
“I am not indebted to Ikeja Electric Plc. The only thing the staff told me was that, it is automatic charges by their system; and not only me alone but as many under their coverage. I wrote series of letters to Ikeja Electric Plc for explanations. My letters were all ignored.
“I wrote a letter of complaint dated 28 July 2021 to the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) but no feedback. It was when I served a copy of my letter dated December 17, 2021 on NERC that I discovered NERC contacted Ikeja Electric Pic and the excuse they gave NERC for keeping me off the grid or in the dark was that my prepaid meter was bad.
“Meanwhile they never called me nor visited my office to check the prepaid meter. They said the prepaid meter was faulty and at the same time charged/billed me in the sum of N466,484.56 for period of March 2021 to 16 December 2021; yet till date, I do not have light.”
He added: “I want investigation because the way Ikeja Electric Plc holds me down, keeps me off the grid and keeps me in the dark perpetually is not only an injustice but an act of forcing me to pay the sum of N466,484.56 to the pocket of Ikeja Electric for a service they never rendered for me; particularly when their staff had revealed that so many Nigerians suffer same fate and majority had to pay such money to enable them have light. With the investigation, so many rot in Ikeja Electric Plc would be open.”