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EKEDC, Tinubu’s Estate Developer Violates NERC Metering Regulation in Lagos, Residents Protest

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Residents of Royal Gardens Estate at Lekki-Epe Expressway, were en masse on Thursday, to protest the arbitrary charges, lack of transparency, accountability and the use of bulk metering with the estate by the Eko Electricity Distribution Company in collusion with the Trojan Estate Limited.

 

The developers of the Estate, Trojan Estate which is currently managed by Rilwan Olakunle Tinubu are alleged to have violated the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission 2015 regulations which nullified the use of Bulk Metering in households under Sam Amadi, its former boss.

 

The Commission had in 2015 agreed with the Nigerian Senate’s position on the need to eliminate the practice of bulk billing residential customers and replace the practice with individual metering and billing. 

 

It is important to state that the Commission had previously abolished bulk billing in its ruling on the VGC Case CASE NO: NERC/H/03/07 in 2008. But despite the ruling being in the favour of the customer, the EKEDC has continued to use bulk metering. This time, residents say it is in collusion with Estate developers and has led to arbitrary service charges and constant blackout, which has drastically increased security challenges in the estate.

EKEDC, Tinubu's Estate Developer Violates NERC Metering Regulation in Lagos, Residents Protest

 

In a protest led by the Royal Gardens Estate executives, former Estate Executive member, Mr Henry Onaga, said it has been a running battle with the Trojan Estate and everything started as a result of the developers refusing to sign the Service Level Agreement (SLA) which has been on since 2018.

 

The Estate Chairman, Mr Anthony Ogbebor, who agreed to speak with us through a telephone call, said the SLA helps to bring transparency in the process of managing the estate. 

 

“Before 2012, this document did not exist, when we went to court, the developers, generated an SLA and gave it to the New Buyers and Old one…we took them to court and the court clearly stated that if this document was available before the estate came to existence before everyone came, it is valid. But since it is otherwise, you must carry the residence along. So, which means that both the residence and the estate must develop an SLA to be valid. Around 2018 and 2019, the document was reviewed and updated. It is just to get it to the Trojan Management to sign but they refuse to sign the SLA.”

EKEDC, Tinubu's Estate Developer Violates NERC Metering Regulation in Lagos, Residents Protest

In the words of Mr Onaga, “It has been a running battle to get the Trojan Estates Limited, the developers of Royal Gardens of this estate to act within the law,” but in all the essence of the protest is to ensure the disconnection of “illegal bulk metering of power supply to the estate.”

 

Mr Onaga explained that “the estate developers have been in cohort with the EKEDC to surcharge us on the issue of power supply. What they’ve done is mount what they call an industrial meter, very close to their office, their transmission centre in Aja here. Such that every time they’ve always imposed bills on us that are far from the essence of the power we consume in our households. By doing so, irrespective of the tokens we sell within the household we’ve never been able to generate even the fifty per cent of the bills they slam on us. What that resulted is every month we levied ourselves on what we call the “Common Power Levy” and each household will contribute formerly 27,000 thousand naira irrespective of whatever we use in our households to pay these people. Even at that, nothing is forthcoming. And we say look, why don’t you meter us individually? So that the common areas that are generating these humongous bills will be identified and isolated. But they refused.

 

“The EKEDC in collaboration with the developers of this estate have refused to hear from us and have been imposing bulk metering on us. They’ve put us on Band A from 66 per kilowatt energy to 225 per kilowatt energy. It has become impossible for us to pay for power and the estate has been thrown into darkness and this has increased insecurity within the estate.”

 

At night the residents of Royal Gardens Estate said the whole premises will be thrown into darkness because it is only from a single source power is generated and once the source of power is down, everything will be in darkness.


Mr Ogbebor said the extraneous charges are much and far-reaching. In his words, “Before, once we buy the card. Your light will be on and it can only be off when you exhaust your card. But now we don’t get to enjoy that again with the use of the bulk meter system. In the bulk meter system, whether we use electricity or not, our bill is reading and we must pay.

 

“If they bring the month of April bill and add it to the existing bill, we’ll be seeing something close to 250 to 300 million naira as our bill for just two months.”

EKEDC, Tinubu's Estate Developer Violates NERC Metering Regulation in Lagos, Residents Protest

According to the copy of the electricity bill obtained by our correspondent, 174 Million Naira was levied on the Estate as the energy charge for April while 187 million naira was calculated as the current bill amount the estate must pay.

 

The EKEDC in a May receipt noted a 276 million naira electricity bill that must be paid by Royal Gardens Estate. Out of the charges, 110 million naira was for the electricity bill for the month while about 166 million naira was for outstanding charges.

 

Residents however demand that the developers of the Estate end the insecurity within the Estate, which is aided by the non-availability of electricity supply to power street lights; dismantle the Bulk Meter to End Regular Disconnection that is worsening the supply of power and ensure that the finalization of the service levels agreement (SLA) signed.

 

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The neck-deep investigation, OSINT Fact-checking, Climate Change airing the marginalized, and doing critical and accountability reporting is what I do. I lead a group of professional investigators at the PIJAlance Magazine Research and Investigations Desk (RID). If you have a story, check 'contact us' to hit me.

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