10 January 2014

Nigeria: Ikeja Distribution Company Says Ex-PHCN Staff Extorting Lagos Residents

The company asked residents to report any suspicious transactions to it.

Some former Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) staff are allegedly extorting money from the public under the guise of receiving contributions towards the repairs of equipment for better power supply.

The observation was raised on Thursday by the Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company (IKEDC), one of the 18 successor companies of the PHCN, privatised to address the twin issues of poor operational and financial performance.

The new management of IKEDC, which covers the northern segment of Lagos State and has 11 business units across eight local government areas located in Abule Egba, Akowonjo, Ikeja, Ikorodu, Ikotun, Ipaja, Odogunyan, Ogba, Ojodu, Oshodi and Shomolu, said the public should be alert and report any attempt by persons demanding payment for purchase of Pre-paid Meters or repairs of its equipment to the authorities.

"It has come to our notice that some former PHCN staff have allegedly been extorting money from members of the public under the guise of receiving contributions towards the repairs of equipment in their localities and purchase of Prepaid Meters. For the avoidance of doubt, no former PHCN staff or IKEDC staff is authorized to make such demands. We urge the public to rebuff these impostors and report such cases to the nearest IKEDC office, ikedcc@yahoo.com or send SMS to 08174598393 for prompt investigation and resolution," Pekun Adeyanju, AGM, Public Affairs, IKEDC said.

To address the challenges of dwindling power supply, Nigeria's Federal Government decided to privatise the sector with the following objectives: Increased access to electricity services, improved efficiency, affordability, reliability and quality of services and promote greater investment into the sector to stimulate economic growth.

Highlighting that the company remained solely responsible for the supply, repairs, and replacement of its equipment, IKEDC's management said it had since commenced customer education campaigns aimed at creating awareness of on-going efforts to improve service delivery and encourage customer involvement in ensuring the success of the power reform.

The company warned that it is a criminal offence for unauthorised persons to tamper with any IKEDC facility or equipment, adding that defaulters will be prosecuted.

According to Mr. Adeyanju, the company had embarked on an upgrade of its customer care centre at its 11 business units to accelerate complaint resolution and respond promptly to issues bordering on metering, estimated billing, shedding and vandalism, among others.

He said IKEDC was partnering with relevant authorities to address vandalism of its equipment, but however, urged consumers to be vigilant and report any suspicious activities around equipment in their areas to the law enforcement agencies as well as the distribution company; adding that "it is imperative that people who ask for their rights should first be responsible to the society."

The new management of Ikeja Distribution Company has been holding inaugural Town Hall meetings across its various locations in its bid to establish a roadmap towards providing uninterrupted quality power supply to all its consumers in the nearest future.

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