From: Geoffrey Anyanwu, Awka
The management of Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC) has debunked allegations by its customers that the company increased electricity tariff.
Three days ago, a group of residents of Onitsha embarked on a protest against the company claiming that it increased the electricity tariff astronomically, just as they demanded that Pre-Paid Meters be installed in their area.
But denying the allegation of tariff increase, the Head of Communications of EEDC, Mr. Emeka Ezeh, said the company did not increase any tariff as there was an existing tariff approved by the regulatory body, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).
Said he, “We did not increase tariff, we just applied the 2017 approved tariff as contained in the Multi Year Tariff Order (MYTO) 2015 tariff approved by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission.
“If you look at the approved MYTO 2015 tariff plan, it has a 10-year tariff plan from 2016 to 2024. Every year there is a slight adjustment to the tariff. We have presented this plan to our customers last year shortly after it was reviewed and it is not a secret document as it is out there for everyone to see. It is also not peculiar to EEDC alone.
“When you go through the 10-year plan, you will notice that a time will come around 2019 when the tariff will start dropping.
“So we want to state categorically, that EEDC did not increase any tariff, as we cannot go against the approved tariff by the regulatory body, NERC.”
Meanwhile, six persons have been jailed for acts of sabotage ranging from illegal installation of Pre-Paid meter to vandalisation of various distribution substations belonging to the EEDC.
Disclosing this in a statement made available to newsmen in Awka, Mr. Ezeh lamented that the company in 2016, spent over N60 million to replace vandalized equipment at the various distribution substations and other installations which resulted in significant financial loss to the company.
Ezeh said that one of the convicts, Valentine Ikechukwu, was sentenced to three years imprisonment by Hon. Justice Bature Gafai of the Federal High Court 1, Awka, Anambra state on January 26, 2017, after he was found guilty on two count charge of tampering with EEDC installations and disturbing electricity flow contrary to provision of Section 1(9) of Miscellaneous Offences Act, LFN, 2004 and Electricity Power Sector Reform Act, 2005.
Ikechukwu he said was arrested at Onitsha by the Police for installing illegal and untested Pre-Paid Meters in EEDC network.
Also at the same court, two persons, Kingsley Mgbemena and Tochukwu Asomba were sentenced to three years imprisonment respectively on January 25, 2017 for tampering, damaging and disconnecting two intermediate armored cables belonging to EEDC.
Earlier, on December 1, 2016, Mr. Adamu Haruna, was sentenced to a one-year jail term by Magistrate Mrs. M.C. Nneji in Enugu for unlawful possession of High Tension aluminum cable belonging to EEDC.
Also, Emeka Stanley and Chinedu Elekwachi were sentenced to three years imprisonment respectively at the Federal High Court, Umuahia, Abia State on November 17, 2016, for vandalizing some installations belonging to EEDC at Ikwuano Local Government Area of Abia State.
Ezeh stated that the Management of EEDC has frowned at the increasing activities of such individuals who have been frustrating its efforts to provide quality service to its customers and expressed its commitment not to relent in the fight against vandals.
He further said, “Perpetrators of these nefarious acts are therefore advised to desist and customers are encouraged to join hands with EEDC to protect these installations that are provided to serve them.”