Residents of Graceland Estate, Obaile, on the outskirt of Akure, on Monday protested high electricity bills by the Office of the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) in Akure.
The protesters, who occupied the BEDC office as early as 8:30 a.m, locked the entrance gate to the company, which prevented the workers from gaining access to their offices.
It later took intervention of soldiers on duty at the BEDC office before some staff go into their offices.
The protesters carried various placards, some of which read: “We say no to crazy (high) bills, Give us pre-paid meters, BEDC is cheating us, we are ready to pay for what we consume, among others.
The Chairman of the Graceland Estate, Mr Popoola Martins, told journalists that most of the protesters paid for pre-paid meters, which were yet to be supplied the electricity firm.
Popoola accused the BEDC of only interested in collecting electricity bills without maintaining facilities in the estate.
According to him, the protesters want the BEDC to stop every “illegality’’.
“We are responsible for buying poles, cables, conductors and even transformer. The firm’s only input is to collect money.
“BEDC gives between N70, 000 to N110,000 electricity bill per house every month. That is outrageous.
“The transformer we procured is yet to be installed. We are here for the world to call the BEDC to order,’’ he said.
Spokesman for the BEDC, Akure Branch, Mr Micheal Barnabas, explained that the protesters were yet to get pre-paid meters because the pre-paid meters were given in phases.
Barnabas said the protesters were on B and E schedule of the firm, adding that the protesters would get pre-paid meters after consumers on A to C got their meters.
He said that consumers without meters were usually billed based on what they consumed from the feeder and tariff band they were linked with.