Residents of Lugbe, a satellite district of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), on Saturday protested against exorbitant electricity charges by the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC).
The residents, numbering over 70, carried placards and protested the constant increase in electricity tariff at the premises of the AEDC in Lugbe, FCT.
Mr Bright Emerenanim, a civil servant and spokesperson of the residents, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the protest was aimed at “liberating Lugbe residents from AEDC’s monthly extortion.’
The FCT residents asked AEDC to provide each house with prepaid meter in order to save them from excessive and estimated billings.
Emerenanim said that AEDC kept increasing their monthly estimated bills from N3, 000 up to as much as 80,000 for each apartment.
“We all have family financial responsibilities and cannot afford to be billed so exorbitantly each month.
“It is either they give us prepaid meter or they disconnect their light until when they can provide it; we are tired and the government said the meter is free,’’ Emerennanim said.
Mr Usman Adamu, another resident, said the electricity bill kept increasing more than a 100 per cent every month.
“I believe that if they give us prepaid meter it will be best for us, but as long as they give us estimated billing, they will continue to exploit us,’’ Adamu said.
Mr Isaac Ugwuene, a pastor, said the two transformers in Lugbe zone 5 were bought through community effort.
“We bought the wires, the poles, paid the AEDC staff for the installations and still pay them for the maintenance.
“Each of the transformers bought 10 years ago cost about N3.7 million, they did not give it to us, they came with nothing,’’ Ugwuene said.
Mr Chijoke Ezeugo, a Lugbe youth leader said: “AEDC is using us to enrich their pockets, that is why they have refused to give us prepaid meters upon several requests,”.
An official of the AEDC, Lugbe division, Mr Daniel Olwu, told NAN that the situation was pathetic, adding that there was nothing the zonal offices could do about the prepaid meter.
A female official of the AEDC, who refused to disclose her identity, told the protesters that the billing was from the meter installed in the transformer for the area.
NAN reports that the meeting between the protesters and AEDC representatives ended in a stalemate.