Court Orders EEDC To Pay Man N9m In Overcharges

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An Abia State High Court sitting at Umuahia has ordered the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC) to pay a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Prince Benjamin Benedict Apugo the sum of N996,426 being the sum over charged him by the electricity company for fixed charges and energy charges.

The order was sequel to suit No. HU/240/2014 instituted by the claimant (Apugo) against the defendant (EEDC), stating that the defendant breached in a contract it entered with him on November 11, 2013 as par installation of 3-phase pre-paid metre.

The claimant also stated in the suit that the fixed charges and energy charges the defendant made him to pay was arbitrary and urged the court to revise it and for the defendant to refund the excesses collected from him.

After listening to the submissions of counsel to the claimant, Chief O.O Amuzie and that of the defendant, Justice Amanze Chikwendu Chima in his ruling observed that the defendant was in breach of the contract it entered with the claimant on November 11, 2013 as par installation of 3-phase pre-paid meter.

The Judge ruled that the defendant was only entitled to bill or charges the claimant for fixed charges and energy charges in accordance with the Multi-Year-Tariff Order 2 as revised and approved by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) in accordance with the Electricity Power Sector Reform Act 2005.

While ordering the defendant to install 3-phase pre-paid meter for the claimant and stop further arbitrary charges on the claimant, the court also ordered the defendant to pay/refund the claimant the sum of N996, 426:02k being the sum over charged him for fixed charges and energy charges.

Meanwhile, apparently irked by the persistent irregular power supply and outrageous monthly bills to electricity users in the state, the Abia State House of Assembly has passed a vote of no confidence on the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC).

The House also summoned the State Chairman of National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to appear before it on May 2 when it will reconvene after the Easter holiday.

According to reports, the NERC state chairman was summoned to explain to the lawmakers during its executive session on said date with the view of briefing them on the way forward concerning reported ugly activities of the EEDC in the state.

The Deputy Speaker and member representing Bende North State Constituency, Sir Cosmos Ndukwe in a matter of urgent public importance on the mindless extortion by the EEDC and a petition by a widow who accused the company of exposing her to untold hardship through outrageous bills lamented that the electricity distribution company has been exploiting Abians who pay for services that wasn’t rendered by the company.

Ndukwe prayed the house to summon the authorities of the electricity distribution company for southeast to give answers to questions arising from their activities.

Some of the lawmakers including member representing Arochukwu State Constituency, Elder Luke Ukaronyeani, Bishop Kennedy Njoku from Osisioma State constituency, Martins Azubuike of Isiala Ngwa North State constituency, Solomon Akpulonu of Osisioma State Constituency, Comrade Chibuzo Okogbue amongst others backed the Deputy Speaker’s position.

They stated that it was time the company was called to order over what they described as the company’s incompetency to distribute power effectively across the state and issue consumers with bills that corresponds with their monthly consumptions.

The speaker, Mr. Chikwendu Kalu noted that the house had few weeks ago passed a resolution on the ugly activities of the EEDC and regretted that the company hasn’t done anything to retrace its step

Kalu in his speech said the continued issuance of estimated bills and indiscriminate disconnection of peoples’ power supply by the EEDC staff was illegal.

According to the speaker, the public has the right to arrest EEDC staff who attempted to disconnect electricity supply to their homes when there wasn’t any supply of electricity to their homes.

The house adjourned sitting and proceeded on Easter holiday to reconvene on the second day of May where they are expecting NERC state chairman to appear before it.

It could be recalled that the level of electricity distribution in Aba, the commercial hub of the state is a far cry from the expectations of organizations, Small and medium Scale industrialists who are the most populated group in Aba and has also has affected the cost of production as many organizations rely on generator to power their equipment whose cost of maintenance and fueling is a big burden on the company.

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