Enugu residents, EEDC clash over epileptic power supply

Residents protesting inadequate power supply in Enugu.

UNTIL last Thursday, the relationship between electricity consumers in Enugu and the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC) was relatively cordial with little skirmishes by some residents of the Coal City over alleged epileptic supply of electricity in the metropolis.

Both the consumers of the electricity and the management of the Electricity distribution company (EEDC) were  said to have been accusing each other of not meeting their respective pledges on power distribution in Enugu and its environs.

While many consumers of electricity alleged that the EEDC was shortchanging them by charging them high tariff, the EEDC management said that it is not true, alleging that unpaid bills by the consumers in the state was largely responsible for the poor services.

Addressing newsmen in Nnewi, Anambra State on Thursday, Vitus  Ekwekwu the Head of Operations, EEDC,  decried the unpaid huge bills in the Southeast zone, stressing that they would embark on aggressive drive to recover debts.

Engineer Ekwekwu, therefore, warned that it would not give electricity to any of its consumers who obeyed the directive of the Enugu State House of Assembly not to pay their bills.

“The House of Assembly, by its directive of stopping consumers from paying bills, was to encourage lawlessness. We will hold the Assembly responsible if any of our staff or workers is molested while carrying out his or her legitimate duties,” he said.

He recalled that the State House of Assembly had passed a vote of no confidence in the EEDC over alleged over billing of its customers, erratic power supply and non-supply of prepaid meters.

Ekwekwu disclosed,  “We lost 62 per cent of our money through stealing of our electricity, adding that by-passing of electricity installation and stealing of EEDC cables were some of the challenges facing the company.

“Recently, we caught a top government official stealing electricity. The said official dug a hole and connected electricity at the back of the Air Force Base. He connected electricity to his house using an armoured cable which he buried in the ground after we had tossed his line for failing to pay bills,” he said.

According to him, “The five Southeast state governments and other consumers in our area of franchise are owing us over N40 billion and we had disconnected even the Owerri Government House before we took actions to recover our debt in Enugu and this should not be an exception. Enugu State Government topped the debt profile. It owes us N2.6 billion and it has just paid N100 million,” he said.