Residents of Lagos Mainland Local Government Area, Lagos, under the aegis of Concerned Community Development Association (CCDA), Ebute-Metta West, have instituted a N200 million suit before a Lagos Federal High Court, against Eko Electricity Distribution Plc (EKEDP), for alleged failure to supply them the pre-paid meters.
The applicants in the suit marked FHC./L/CS/1680/18 and filed by their lawyer, Abdu-Salaam Abbas are: Alice Odusanya, Adenike Okubanjo, Kofoworola Olaitan, Williams Oladapo, Olusegun Sojinu, Emmanuel Benson, Oladipupo Joseph and Folarin Joseph, suing for themselves and on behalf of the CDA.
Joined as respondent is Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).
Apart from the the sum of N200 million damage for losses on businesses, the applicants are also seeking an order restraining the first respondent from further disconnection in a manner that is inconsistent with the regulations of the second respondent.
They also asked the court for an order mandating the EKEDP to install prepaid meters for their proper electricity billing, reconnect disconnected lines and to increase in quantity of supply in line with the regulations of the NERC.
They also asked the court for a declaration that the first respondent acted contrary to power regulations with regards to the treatment of their complaint. And award of N1.5 million, as cost of instituting the suit.
An affidavit in support of the motion in notice of the applicants deposed to by Alice Olusanya, averred that sometime In 2014, the areas covered by the representation of the association started experiencing incessant power outages without any solutions from the EKEDP, whose responsibility It Is to resolve such problem as a service provider. And that the Applicant in a bid to resolve the recurrent problem Investigated the cause of the said power outage and as a result made physical complaints with the EKEDP at its offices on several occasions.
The deponent also averred that due to the continuous occurrence of the power outages in the communities, the inhabitants thereof organized themselves under the association and complained to the first respondent complaining amongst other things; the overloading of the EB-1 Network Feeder, unmetered billing charges. constant power outage despite consistent compliance with payment of electricity bills and the Issuance of arbitrary and exorbitant estimated bills.
The deponent further stated that on the June 29, 2015, the association through the Applicants wrote the first Respondent registering her pains and sufferings due to the issues outlined above.
Adding that about one year after writing to the first Respondent and the Applicants received no response, the association escalated its complaint to the Eko Forum office of the second Respondent on June 20, 2016, registering its frustration and displeasure at the lack of response by the first Respondent despite several attempts at resolving the poor service in electricity supply to the concerned communities.
Further to its previous complaints to the EKEDP, the Applicants in this letter also complained of gross epileptic power supply, arbitrary cum exorbitant charges, Overloading and congestion of the EB-1 Network Feeder and non~provision of the standard meterage for the affected communities; Issues which have remained unresolved by the EKEDP.
The deponent stated that in response to the Applicants’ letter of June 20, 2016, the second Respondent by its letter of August 24, 2016, referred the Applicants through its Legal Adviser to the EKEDP letter dated August 10, 2016, which was addressed to the Eko Forum office of the second Respondent here It admitted the overloading of the EB-1 Network Feeder. The EKEDP only responded to the issues related to the Issue of overloading of the EB-1 Network Feeder; to which It stated that deloading process was currently on going (as at the time of their response) without more.
She also stated that sometimes In April 2018, EKEDP moved in with her staff and equipment and totally disconnected the community’s wires through the help of armed security personnel without any explanation whatsoever. The act she said has greatly injured the economic interest of all the applicants.
The deponent also stated that the action of the respondents have greatly injured the individual and collective interest of the applicants most of whom own businesses located within the communities affected by the actions of the EKEDP and have since gone out of business due to the said act. And that some members of the community represented by applicants had to seek for very expensive alternative power supply means which has occasioned financial hardship on them.
She further states that have becomes helpless by the unlawful act of EKEDP coupled with the inrresponsiveness as a regulatory agency.
However, when the matter came up for hearing at the weekend, Justice Sule Hassan, ordered that all the applicants’ processes be served on the respondents, while adjourned the matter till January 11, for report of service.