Residents of the Otugbuwa mayor community in Ikorodu, Lagos, have accused Ikeja Electric, an electricity distribution company, of having left them in the dark for more than 15 years.
The community, located along the Oreta Road in the local development area of Igbogbo / Baiyeku (LCDA), said they were forced to tap electricity from Ola-Oluwa, a contiguous settlement, about six years ago.
Adekunle Oshimosu, chairman, Community Development Association (CDA) of the area, said that despite a series of letters of complaint to energy company Ikeja Electric, they refused to pay attention to their plight.
He said the company had previously started sending them exorbitant bills for the electricity they pulled from Ola-Oluwa. However, what seemed to have reassured the residents became sour because they are now struggling with low tension.
Oshimosu said the voltage is so low that it cannot charge a cell phone. He said the community was forced to ask the distribution company to break the connection because the power could not serve any purpose.
He attributed their problem to the absence of a special community transformer.
“I moved to this community in 2012. People were already living here. But I said no, things have to change, then I gathered people and we started taking steps. You can see the community, will you say that this community is not developed enough to have a transformer? “
“At the beginning of 2019 we wrote to the Ikeja Electric office in Alogba, Ikorodu, that they would disconnect us if they couldn’t find a solution to our problem. They didn’t want it because of the free money they get from us every month.
“We wrote them again last November, it took another three months to disconnect it. They finally arrived on February 3 when they realized that we stopped paying bills. Now they said we owe them N2.4 million in outstanding bills, “he said.
Oshimosu said Ikeja Electric told them they don’t have a transformer to give the community.
“We have written several letters to Ikeja Electric and some politicians. The district manager told us two years ago that Ikeja Electric has nothing to offer us, he even said tester, they don’t have it in their store. We were about four years old and went to the meeting that day. I have the recording.
We beg Nigerians, politicians and all well-meaning people to help us. We have been cheated and suffered, “he added.
Idris Adesina, a resident and member of the newly inaugurated electricity commission in the community, told our reporter that every household has billed N20,000 to purchase a reasonably used transformer.
“Because of the situation on the ground, we invoiced N20,000 for each home to purchase a reasonably used 500kva transformer. A new one costs around N6.5 million. A used one is N2.5 million. To be honest, not every household can afford that money. So some of us will still have to pay more.
“We know that Ikeja Electric will still give us a big fight when it’s time to connect our transformer,” he said.
Ayeni Akinola, manager, community and media relations, Lagos State, confirmed to Newsbreak that it is their responsibility to deliver transformers to communities.
Speaking of the low tension that the community experienced, he blamed the overload.
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“It is Ikeja Electric’s responsibility to purchase community transformers. But the reason why communities buy transformers themselves is because they can’t wait for our own transformers to come to them.
“We have many communities that need new transformers or a repair of the existing ones.
“As soon as our system indicates that a community needs a transformer, we will see what we can do. But we have not seen anything with regard to this community.
“If the community has an 11kva line that can take power there, then their problem is half solved, but if it is only a 415 line that they used to extract power from their community, it will cost us between 50 and 70 million to a high tension in the community.
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Oshimosu later confirmed to our correspondent that the community already has a high tension made available through individual efforts without any input from the National Integrated Power Project (NIPP).