-No payment no prepaid metre says BEDC
An apex pressure group in Ika Land, Ika Landlords/Landladies Association,has during a meeting on Tuesday, June 9,2020 with the Agbor Business Manager, Benin Electricity Development Company,BEDC, Engr Bamgboje Amos at its Secretariat in Boji-Boji, Owa,Ika North East Local Government Area, Delta State,reiterated its resolve on the provision of prepaid metres and improved electricity supply for all electricity consumers in Ika Land. Also in the meeting with the association which has been at the forefront in agitations for better infrastructures in Ika Land were stakeholders such as, Onu Ika Nigeria, represented by its leader, Mr Daniel Usifoh, Nigerian Medical Association, Nigerian Bar Association, National Youth Council of Nigeria, Nigerian Union of Teachers, among others.
Welcoming everyone to the meeting the President,Ika Landlords/ Landladies Association, Mr Vincent Arimokwu,JP disclosed that the need for the provision of prepaid metres and improved electricity supply in Ika Land informed the reason for the meeting.He stated that before now his association has had several meetings with BEDC management, including a private meeting with the Managing Director in Benin-City, all to no avail as the electricity challenges in Ika Land increased.
According to Arimokwu, “The only way out is the issuance of prepaid metres.Before now, we have had several meetings with BEDC officials in Benin-City, Asaba and Agbor, including a meeting with the MD. We have also alongside BEDC met with relevant stakeholders and the Obi of Owa Kingdom, His Royal Majesty Dr Emmanuel Efeizomor 11. Our complaints have been,one, estimated billings, non provision of prepaid metres, low voltage, refusal to repair faulty transformers, among others.Therefore, we are out to mediate between our people and BEDC, we don’t want trouble.If there are prepaid metres and constant power supply we will not be reminded to pay light bills.We are peace loving people, hence,we don’t want BEDC to go astray.
Responding, the BEDC, Agbor Business Manager, Engr Bamgboje Amos stated that his company is fully committed to rendering quality service to its customers in Ika Land, but the major hitch to achieving the feat are customers he referred to as bad eggs who have formed the habit of no paying their monthly electricity bills. He revealed that bills are high owing to the non compliance of defiant customers, stressing that if every energy released by BEDC is paid for by all customers, billing amounts will be low.
“It’s unfortunate to say that some bad eggs don’t pay their electricity bills, instead they make illegal payments to bad elements in our company each time they come for disconnection. Recently, we recorded a case of a woman who came to my office to complain that she has been paying #3,000 each month and her light was disconnected when she failed once in her monthly payment. From her complaints I discovered that she has no bill and that she has been making illegal payments for the past three years.After listening to her complaints I gave her bill without any hesitation.Energy is not free anywhere,as company (BEDC) we buy and distribute to our customers who in turn are expected to pay for any energy consumed. However, since I resumed office in March this year,I have been very committed towards the improvement of electricity supply in Ika Land.If we observed very well,there was improved electricity supply in April.If every electricity consumer is paying bill it will help to improve on or increase the amount of energy we supply Agbor Business District.”
On the issue of prepaid metres,Engr Bamgboje said, “No metre is free. BEDC does not give free metre to any of her customers.If every of our customer has metre better for us.It does us no good when our customers have no metres.To address these challenges, we have started the process of Metre Access Provider(MAP).The process is now at 68 percent stage.We have to prepare ahead so that every customer will benefit when prepaid metres come.
The Head, Collective Leadership of Onu Ika Nigeria, Mr Daniel Usifoh, Dr Samuel Idiaghe, Mr Basil Nwokoro, Pastor Mrs Esther Okpaje, Kingsley Beye, Mr Martin Agbokigboro and others who spoke called for improved power supply in Ika Land, warning that BEDC may loose her patronage if it does not address the challenges of her customers in Ika Land.
In his response, Engr Bamgboje said that his company is very prepared in addressing the challenges of electricity consumers in Ika Land,hence, it has resolved to start a pilot scheme of metering the following areas: Ajuebon,Melekwe, Owanta, Kingsley, Alika,Iwezue and Osa Streets) all in Boji-Boji, Owa.He noted that every customer in the areas mentioned will be made to purchase a prepaid metre before they will be energized, noting that the level of compliance will determine how quickly prepaid metres will get to other areas in Ika Land.On the issue of vandalization of transformers,he advised that it should be a collective effort as BEDC has no constitutional power to guard any transformer. He thanked the Ika Landlords/ Landladies for the meeting assuring that his company will ensure that her customers in Ika Land are given the best services.
The President,Ika Landlords/Landladies Association,Mr Vincent Arimokwu,on behalf of the members thanked BEDC for honouring their invitation.He listed their resolutions to be: One, that every customer in Ika Land should have a prepaid metre. Two, that the issue of estimated bills in Ika Land should stop.Three, that BEDC should ensure that there is improved electricity supply in Ika Land.
At the end of the meeting the association constituted Electricity Supply Committee which has Mr Godwin Idiaghe as Chairman, Mr Basil O.Nwokoro, Secretary, Edobor Friday, member,Emefiele Christian, member, Comrade Izegede Christian, member,Efam Nwokenye, member,Obaigbena Augustine, member, Martins Agbokigboro, member, Nwagimeje S, member and Ekwuazom F.H, member .The committee was given the mandate to work with BEDC on how to get prepaid metres for all electricity consumers in Ika Land, including how to improve on the electricity supply in the area and at the end report back to the association.

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