By Tony Adibe
An Enugu-based human rights defender, the Civil Rights Realization And Advancement Network (CRRAN) has demanded the quick reconnection of power to the residents of Estate No. 43B Extension Artisan Quarters, Asata, within the Enugu metropolis in Enugu State, Southeast, Nigeria.
President of CRRAN, Olu Omotayo Esq, said in a petition addressed to the Business Manager of the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC), and copied to the company’s Managing Director, and the Commissioner of Police in Enugu State, said that the demand for restoration of electricity was made “pursuant to Regulation 7, of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission’s Customer Service Standards of Performance for Distribution Companies 2007 (Federal Republic of Nigeria Official Gazette No.102, Vol. 94. Which provides that electricity supply should be reconnected to any consumer whatsoever after 24 hours of making application for reconnection of electricity supply to a distribution company.”
CRRAN also urged the Commissioner of Police Enugu State to, investigate the “criminal demand of N65,000 Naira for replacement of each of the 29 meters affected by EEDC officials.”
Omotayo wrote: “We write to you in respect of the above-mentioned matter on behalf of Mr. Sunday Mbah, Mr. Mark Egbegolu (08037712291), Mr. Gabriel Imoh-08034475036), Mr. Osita Ozokoli-(08036988413), Mr. Asika Martin and Mr. Paul Okwor, who are the representatives of residents of Estate No. 43 B, Extension Artisan Quarters Asata, Enugu.
” We have their instructions and authority to write this petition to you. We were informed by the above-mentioned residents that officials of Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC) invaded the estate on 30th March 2023. According to the them over 25, EEDC staff who came in more than 5 vehicles-besieged the Estate on the pretext that the residents did illegal connections and bye pass meter.”
According to CRRAN, “The representatives of the residents further stated that after the EEDC officials examined the over 29 meters in the estate for over four hours, they did not discover any illegal connection or tampering with the meters. “The officials later said the meters which were those installed by the former PHCN, were not reading fast and thereby failed what they called “Integrity Test” One of the Numerous Disconnection Order of the “Chuks Team”’ of EEDC, is attached.”
Quoting the residents, Omotayo recalled that thereafter, electricity supply was “disconnected from the entire premises from the electric pole located at the front gate of the premises by the Team that invaded despite the fact that majority of the meters in question have substantial current credit-recharged on them still running.”
The residents were, thereafter, instructed by the staff of the EEDC who did the “invasion” to “come and pay N65,000.00 :00K (Sixty-five thousand Naira only) each to collect new prepaid meters,” according to Omotayo.
CRRAN stated: “We submit that the action of Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC) is not only illegal and unlawful, but it is also anti Federal government policy in respect of installation of meters for consumers in Nigeria. The Federal government has reiterated it on several occasions that it is illegal for Distribution companies to be selling meters to consumers.
“By Section 10 of the Electric Power Sector Reform Act all the duties, obligations, rights, liabilities of NEPA transferred to Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) have now been transferred to the successor companies which EEDC is one of; meaning the EEDC owes public duty to its consumers to repair or replace inherited PHCN meters.
“Furthermore Section 9(1)(b) of the Nigerian Electricity Regulation Commission’s Customer’ Service Standards of Performance for Distribution Companies 2007, imposed a duty on the Distribution company that in case of a faulty meter to : “if appropriate fix or replace the meter”.
Omotayo further argued that “it is the duty of the EEDC to rectify faulty prepayment meters whether they inherit it from Power Holding Company of Nigeria or not.”