An association called Coalition of Plateau Residents for Peace and Development, held a peaceful protest at the headquarters of the Jos Electricity Distribution Company (JED) on Thursday. They protested outrageous estimated billing system among other problems ongoing in the State.
They threatened to sue the company if their pleas are not met before 24th of February, 2017, while also calling on the Plateau State Government to come to the aid of the citizenry.
Barrister Sam Tokz who spoke on behalf of the residents, enumerated the challenges to include, “Outrageous and indiscriminate Estimated Billing System to charge consumers of the Company (JED PLC).
“Consumers under the Estimated Billing Methodology are being charged above their power consumption despite the present poor power supply.
“The replacement of old calibrated prepaid meters with new uncaliberated prepaid meters without proper sensitization/enlightenment of the consumers on the new meter, retrieval of the old which were bought by customers without refunds of their funds since the prepaid meters are installed for free.“The high charge on cost of installation/initial units of the new prepaid meter where the sum of (N7,310) in a time of economic hardships and the hardship consumers undergo to transfer credit balance from the replaced meters to the new meters.
“Demand for equal tariff with other States for example Distribution Companies in Lagos, Abuja and Kaduna States Distribution Companies in Lagos, Abuja, and Kaduna States charging N15, N18 and N19 respectively as tariffs for residential consumers. This is because there are discrepancies in the tariffs with Plateau State paying the highest.
“Application of appropriate tariff codes to consumers to reflect their consumptions. We noticed that there are residential customers who are wrongly coded to pay charges for commercial customers.
“Poor response to customers’ complaints by staff of JED PLC and unprofessional conduct of some staff of the company, among others.
“This is in total disregard to the dialogue we have opened with them which informed our decision for this peaceful protest to ventilate our grievances to ensure that residents of Plateau State are treated fairly, equally and justly as other States as well as pay exactly for their power consumption.
“Our prayers to JED PLC include the following; the tariff rates for Plateau State should be the same as obtainable in Distribution Companies in Lagos, Abuja, and Kaduna States charging N15, N18 and N19 respectively as tariffs for residential consumers.
“There should be proper consultations with key stakeholders on the new prepaid meters and the certification that they are calibrated to ensure that they charge according to the consumption of the customers. This is because the new prepaid meters currently charges over 200% above the replaced calibrated meters.
“Technicians must certify that the new prepaid meters are calibrated before they are installed, as only Plateau State is targeted with the new prepaid meter which charges more than the ones removed.
“All customers under the Estimated Billing Methodology (unmetered customers) are supplied and installed with certified calibrated prepaid meters after due consultations with the consumers.
“This is to address the issues of outrageous and indiscriminate billing of the customers and customers get value for the services they enjoy.
He maintained that, residents who have paid for prepaid meters but not supplied should be urgently provided with meters and refunded since prepaid meters are free or credited with unit equivalent to the amount they paid accordingly.
“Customers under the Estimated Billing Methodology are charged only for the power they consume before prepaid meters are installed to them.