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Court Orders BEDC to Give Customers Prepaid Meters

By Adedapo Adesanya

A Federal High Court sitting in Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State, has ordered the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) to provide prepaid meters to all its consumers in the town.

This directive was given by Justice Babs Kuewumi while delivering judgment in a suit with number FHC/AD/CS/03/2019 on Friday, February 19 in Ado-Ekiti.

Mr Ibukun Ogundipe, President of Ado-Ekiti Residents Consumers Association and four others had instituted a suit against the energy firm, alleging outrageous billing and non-metering of consumers.

Other reliefs by the plaintiffs included the order of the court to declare null and void the purported outrageous billing and withdrawal of BEDC licence by the Nigeria Electricity Regulation Commission (NERC), among others.

Justice Kuewumi in his judgment granted two of the seven reliefs sought by the plaintiffs.

On the issue of an order for the revoke of the licence of the first respondent, (BEDC) by NERC, the judge said it is only the second respondent, NERC that has the discretionary power to do so.

“On the issue of declaring outrageous billing of consumers by BEDC through the estimated billing methodology null and void, the the first respondent has proven that it is working in line with the regulation of NERC, while the plaintiffs’ relief is struck out on the ground of prove of want.

“However, the court orders that the first respondent, (BEDC) provides prepaid meters to all its consumers, to forestall any challenge that may arise thereof,” Justice Kuewumi ordered.

Speaking on the judgement, counsel to BEDC, Mr Peter Akhatsokhe, said his client had commenced the process of metering its consumers, which the court also advised.

The plaintiffs were represented by Mr Oyebola Basanwo, while their spokesperson, Dr Ibukun Ogundipe, said community would be seeking a second opinion in an appeal court on the ruling on the “outrageous estimated billing.”

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