The Eko Electricity Distribution Company has raised the alarm over alleged constant harassment of its staff by soldiers in military barracks and other installations, saying that the act would not augur well for the promotion of civilian-military relations being championed by the military authorities.
The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the company, Mr. Oladele Amoda said in Lagos that soldiers tagged their private and official quarters as military zones and harassed electricity workers that requested for the payment of bills for power consumed in such premises.
He further disclosed that the company was planning to install bulk prepaid meters in all military and other security agencies’ barracks within its operational territory.
Amoda said the installation of the prepaid meters would totally eliminate every form of controversy regarding the accuracy of electricity bills in the barracks
Amoda further appealed to military personnel having either private or official quarters outside the barracks to pay for electricity consumed in such premises instead of tagging such premises as military zone and using that as an opportunity to harass and scare the company’s staff, while on their official duties.
He disclosed that the company had to resort to disconnecting some military formations after all efforts to make them defray their huge debt to the company proved abortive, adding that the order to disconnect was only given after several letters and notices of intention to withdraw service were not responded to.
The company’s General Manager in charge of Corporate Communications, Mr. Godwin Idemudia quoted Amoda as expressing displeasure over the harassment of his company’s staff performing their legitimate duties by military personnel.
Amoda said all the Military formations within the company’s licence area were indebted to the company to the tune of N600 million with about 60 per cent of the debt being owed by the Army, while about 30 per cent and 10 per cent of the debt profile are respectively shared by the Navy and Airforce.
Amoda said molesting staff, who were performing their lawful duties would not augur well for the promotion of military-civil relations which the high echelon of the military has been canvassing in recent time.
Amoda noted that since the company pay for energy received from the grid, no segment of customers can be allowed not to pay as no business can thrive when services rendered are not paid for by its patrons.
He then appealed all military formations and Ministry, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to make payment of electricity bills a priority on the list of their proposed expenditure.
He expressed the hope that with the signing of the budget for the current financial year, many government establishments would offset their huge electricity bills.
Amoda then assured all customers having complaints over their billing to lodge such complaints through any of the company’s channels of attending to customer’s complaints stressing that each complaint will be treated on its own merit with full regard for safeguarding the customer’s interest.