The Benin Electricity and Distribution Company (BEDC) has been petitioned by an electricity consumer, Mr Shaibu Abraham, for illegal disconnection and demanding gratification by an official of the utility company in the Edo capital.
In a petition dated Sept. 4, 2019 which was obtained in Benin on Thursday, the petitioner, through his lawyer, Douglas Ogbangwa and Co, also demanded daily payment of N1000 until his supply was restored.
In the petition to the Managing Director of the BEDC, Abraham alleged that an official of the company, Abimbola Afolabi, had demanded a bribe of N100, 000 from him as settlement, even when he just moved into his house in January.
He said he bluntly refused and the official who was in the Evbuoriaria office of the company, had been giving him estimated bills ranging from between N26, 000 to N42, 000 monthly in the bungalow he occupied with his family.
He also said he went to the BEDC office before moving in to inform them that he had a Pre-Paid metre to his name that he used in his former rented apartment.
“When I informed her (Afolabi) of the Pre-Paid metre, she told me it is not hers, whereas the metre is from the same BEDC. Again, I requested to be metred, but she repeatedly failed, neglected or refused. She told me that I will not know peace until I yield to her demand for gratification,’’ he stated.
The complainant, who said he had been paying between N5000 to N30,000 as estimated bills which he had consistently disputed, said he was surprised when upon return from work on Aug. 21, he met his house disconnected from public power supply by the BEDC, without any prior disconnection notice as required by the law.
Abraham said it was for that reason that he was demanding N5 million as compensation from the company in respect of damages incurred, as well as the psychological trauma, shame and embarrassment he and his family had suffered from the illegal disconnection.
“I am also demanding for a daily payment of N1000 as long as the disconnection lasts, as demanded by the National Electricity Regulator Company (NERC).
However, when contacted, the Spokesman of the BEDC, Mr Tayo Adekunle, said he was unaware of the petition.
He, however, said if the petition had been addressed to the appropriate quarters, it would be investigated and the staff involved sanctioned when found guilty.