Kaduna Electric has recently raised alarm alleging that 90 percent electricity consumers in the popular Printing Press village in Kaduna metropolis have ‘bypassed’ their meters.
But in a swift reaction, consumers in the area, a concentration of printing press business-men/women, said the new prepaid metering devices supplied to their area are ‘exploitatively’ programmed.
The consumers had also threatened thunder and storm to go for street protest to contest what they described as deliberately coordinated plans by Kaduna Electric to exploit them.
In the same vein, an insider source of the Kaduna Electric, Lawal, a Compliance officer, revealed that the company has completed plans to drag the affected consumers to court for bypassing their meters.
Our correspondent’s investigation revealed that in less than 30 minutes in the office of one Engr. Gumel, who heads engineering dept of Kaduna Electric, he witnessed tremendous influx of consumers, who trooped into the office for complaints of their meters, most of whom came from the printing village.
All attempts to get the management to explain the rationale was futile, as the Managing Director was unseat and the company secretary declined comments to the press.
However, the compliance officer (Lawal) said Kaduna Electric had paid dearly for the procurement of prepaid meters and needs money to pay repay the debt owed to the manufacturer.
He also confirmed that all the maters were calibrated before deployment to the printing village where it was freely installed due to the demand.
Findings also revealed that the current prepaid metering system supplied to the people in the areas, predominantly printing press business-men/women, was responsible for the differences as residential buildings in the area are not left out of high tariff – paying between N15,000 and N30,000 monthly consumption – as against N4,000 – N10,000 earlier consumption.
A resident in the area, Prof. Ayodele Adeleye, told journalists that a good number of them, who could no longer afford to meet consumption rate of the new pre-paid meter, have been out-of-power for over a week and even more. He insisted that he’ll go any length to have his old meter replace the problematic new one due to the high consumption rates of the new meters.
It was also learn that, power supply to the entire village was off at the heat of the crises for some days, as a result of the bypass scenario. Prior to the face-off, Kaduna Electric had issued press statements consistently decrying energy theft through bypass by consumers in those areas.