· Says state owes it N2.6 billion
The Management of Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC) yesterday opened up on the face off between it and Enugu State Government, describing the state as a bad customer.
It also raised alarm over the safety of its staff and property including installations, following the resolution of the Enugu State House of Assembly which according to it was inciting the masses against the company.
EEDC disclosed that Enugu state was fighting it because of the demand by the company that the state government pays the whopping sum of N2.6 billion outstanding debt it owes the company.
Enugu State House of Assembly had last week passed a vote of no confidence on EEDC accusing the company of many things including over billing of customers and non supply of light and even went as far as asking the company to leave the state.
It also allegedly asked the people of the state to stop paying electricity bills.
But at press conference in Oraifite Anambra State jointly addressed by the management team lead by the Acting Chief Services Officer, Mr. Paul Okeke, EEDC said the action of the State House of Assembly was surprising to them because the State Governor, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi had on the same Friday hosted the Chairman of the Company, Sir Emeka Offor; a Director of the company and former Senate President, Sen. Ken Nnamani and the management of EEDC where the issue of the debt owe by the state was discussed and the Governor promised to start payment with N100 million on Monday which payment alert however got to the company on Tuesday.
Okeke said, “We had a good discussion with the Governor and he promised to pay and there was an agreement written and signed by the government to that effect. They agree to pay N100 million first and subsequently pay N200 million before the end of April, so the action of the Assembly which is inciting the masses against our company, our staff and installations and the sponsored protests does not portray the government in good light.
“Out of the over N40 billion owed us by customers in our catchment area which is the five South-East states, Enugu state alone owes N2.6 billion, other states, Anambra, Imo, Abia and Ebonyi are paying but Enugu is not and we cut their light. We owe NBET the sum of N77 billion and we lose up to additional 10 per cent apart from the 18 per cent marked out for electricity theft.”
“You should understand that we are not generators of the electricity, we buy and distribute, so how can we be able to do that if people continue to owe us, and the electricity theft remain unabated.
Speaking on the debt profile of the company, the Head, Communications of EEDC, Mr. Emeka Ezeh said, “It is important that customers realize that EEDC is a private company in a highly regulated industry that relies solely on revenue derived from electricity delivered to them. With a total outstanding debt to NBET of over N77 billion, which includes the N2.6 billion owed by Enugu State, at 21 per cent interest rate, EEDC had no choice but to disconnect some of the State Government offices.
“The electricity supply value chain is facing enormous challenge, which is general and not peculiar to EEDC alone; customers therefore need to appreciate this fact. EEDC is committed to the development of not just Enugu State, but the entire South-East states; and has been carrying out its operations ethically and in compliance with regulatory guidelines.
“While EEDC is required to distribute the power it receives to its customers, the customers are equally obligated to pay for the energy they consume. There is no way EEDC can sustain its operations and services as well as that of the electricity value chain if customers do not pay for the electricity they consume.”
He disclosed that the company has committed over N10 billion into meter installation to ensure that the issue of estimated bill ends.