From Felix Ikem, Nsukka
The Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC) has promised its customers that prepaid metres will be distributed to customers free of charge starting from January 2021.
Mr Abuchi Mekowulu Network Manager of Nsukka District disclosed this in Nsukka on Friday while addressing some residents of Nsukka town in Nsukka Local Government area of Enugu State who protested against
high monthly bills from EEDC.
Mekowulu said EEDC collaboration with Federal Government would make possible for all customers to get prepaid metres in 2021starting from  first quarter.
“EEDC is optimistic that before the end of 2021 all customers will get prepaid metres free of charge.
“With prepaid metre the complain of high monthly estimated bills will be over,” he said.
The Network Manager explained that the increase in monthly bills was as result of near 24 hours electricity supply by EEDC in Nsukka town and environs for the past five months.
“I am happy you have acknowledged that you now enjoy electricity supply between 20 and 22 hours daily,” he said.
Speaking, the spokesman of the protesters Mr. Titus Onyishi said they were in EEDC office to register their grievances over the monthly outrageous estimated bills given to Nsukka residents.
“Three months ago EEDC gave us monthly N5,000 and we paid because there is improvement in power supply.
“But surprisingly last month some are given N25,000, N20,000, N15,000 as monthly estimated bills.
“We are here to see how to resolve this issue with EEDC,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mr Cosmas Ugwueze, the Council Chairman of Nsukka LGA who rushed down to the EEDC’s office to ensure that the protest did not turn violence applauded the protesters for conducting themselves in a peaceful manner.
He urged the EEDC to keep to their promise of supplying free prepaid meter to the customers come first quarter of 2021.
However, when contacted Mr. Emeka Ezeh, Head, Corporate Communications, EEDC said,  “this is part of the reactions from our customers since the implementation of the revised Service Reflective Tariff (SRT) on November 1, 2020.
“It is important to state that the tariff is a fallout of meetings between the Federal Government, Labour Unions and other stakeholders.
“We have equally being carrying out sensitisation on this development, as well as its impact to our customers.
“The group that came on protest today are on Band A and they being served by our Township Feeder with a daily minimum guaranteed availability of 20 hours.
“With this availability and the effect of the revised tariff, there is no way the customers will not feel the impact in their bills,” he said.
He appealed to the customers to understand that there is a shift from what used to be obtainable and begin to adjust by conserving energy, adding that “EEDC is working at improving the service quality to our customers and expect them to appreciate this effort and support in paying their bills as that is the only way we can sustain the system.
“We appreciate the peaceful way the customers conducted themselves and encourage them to use our available customer complaint channels to lodge their concerns and it will be looked addressed,” he said.