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SPECIAL REPORT: Kano Youths Plan Protest Over Outrageous Power Bills

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Sometimes in 2020, Samuel Manzo, a fashion designer at Kwanar Tudun Wada Bus Stop applied for a prepaid meter at the Kano Electricity Distribution Company (KEDCO) office due to what he described as crazy billing.

Two years down the line, Manzo is still among the angry customers who are lamenting the unpleasant conditions of DISCO’s estimated billing.

"Lack of electricity is affecting us negatively because of the kind of business we are into. There's no electricity, but at the end of the month, KEDCO officials still increase my bill because I am using a meter.

Old meter board cropped

“In 2020, I applied for a meter and they took my name, till date I am yet to see the meter.

“In the end, they said I should pay some money to get the meter but I refused because the government said the meter is free," he said.

Estimated Bill Increases by 1,800% in Three Months

Aisha Muhammad is another aggrieved customer living in a one-bedroom flat in Daurawa community.

She was surprised to see her monthly estimated bill rise sharply from N2,000 in January to N20,000 in April 2022.

"At first, my bill was N2,000, then they increase it to N6,000. Suddenly, we started receiving ridiculous bills. In fact, last month my bill rose to N20,000.

“And the funny thing is I don't have electronics that consume electricity," she said.

Another resident at Medile B in Kumbotso Local Government Area, Musa Sani Ibrahim said the community has been battling “low current” for years due to overloading, yet he gets an average bill of N7,000 monthly.

"Because of the population in our community, the transformer is overloaded. So, most times we end up getting low current.

“Truly, we cannot even use the electricity because it is too low. Unfortunately, they still bill me N7,000. Honestly, we are not consuming what they are billing us."

Poor power supply and the incessant collapse of the national grid continue to cripple businesses in Kano, yet the ‘crazy bill’ continues as the state residents lament further.

"There is no electricity, I don't know the problem of this Nigeria."

"We hardly have three hours of electricity in our street, and it is affecting our daily activities. Unfortunately, the bill keeps getting higher".

"In our area, the bill they distributed in March is about N7,000. And we have never experienced a power failure before as we did in March," Mr. Ibrahim said.

Youth Group Mobilises for Protest

Deeply concerned about this development, the Chairman of Kano Youth Integrity Forum, Sani Garba is mobilising his members for a peaceful protest if KEDCO fails to address the “crazy billing.”

"This is really getting out of hand. But, we would organise a peaceful demonstration at the State Government House, and the Emir's Palace to express our grievances.

“And we will also document our plight to the State House of Assembly for urgent intervention.

“We are not consuming electricity; we are not supposed to pay. We will pay when we consume", he added.

No doubt, these concerns pose a threat to achieving Goal 7 – Ensure Access To Affordable, Reliable, Sustainable, and Modern Energy for All – target of the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which ensure universal access to affordable, and modern energy services for all by 2030.

Only 300,000 Meters Allocated to Kano State

In 2020, Kano Electricity Distribution Company (KEDCO) concluded the Phase Zero of the National Mass Metering Programme (NNMP).

KEDCO cropped

The programme, according to the distribution company (DisCo) was aimed at reducing the impact of Service Based Tariff (SBT) on customers.

Hence, over 87,747 meters were installed in the state. However, thousands of registered customers are still in the queue.

In response to customers’ grievances, the Chief Revenue Assurance Officer in KADCO, Johnson Adetunji links the recent high billing to the increase in electricity tariff.

KEDCO 2 cropped

"What we bill a customer depends on the electricity that goes into the feeder, and recently we increased the electricity tariff. So if you are in an area where tariff gets high, your billing will be definitely high.

“And let me be honest, it is the quantity of supply that goes into the feeder that depends on what a customer will be supplied.

“And the fact that you are having a low supply, doesn't mean that there is no supply in your area.

“Let me give you a simple example; if you are billed N3000, and you got a supply for 30 days, it simply means your billing in a day is N100."

On his part, KEDCO’s Chief Customer Relations Officer, Abubakar Yusuf says the Federal Government has allocated over 300,000 meters so far to bridge the metering gap of about 15 million residents in the State.

Mr. Yusuf however urges the affected customers to formally send their complaints to the head office for prompt action.

"The Federal Government is in touch with the distribution companies to start the National Mass Metering Programme Phase 1.

“And, they have set aside 400 million meters for the 11 distribution companies in Nigeria. And in Kano, we got an allocation of over 300,000 meters.

“If a customer has complaints regarding our billing, he or she should document it to the head office. And if your case is genuine, I promise you that we will rectify it," he said.

This kind of promise is not new to the residents - this time - they are only hoping that KEDCO will be more committed to investing in prepaid meters procurement to meet their demands.


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