Uncovered, the great rip-off: How IBEDC staff defraud customers in Ogbomoso

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Ben GEORGE
More light has been shed on how unscrupulous officials of the Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company, IBEDC, swindle the people of Ogbomoso in the supply of electricity and bill allocation to customers leading to acute epileptic electricity supply and issuance of crazy bills.
For years Ogbomoso and its environs have been entwined in this twin problem aside the arrogant posture and highhandedness of the officials of the IBEDC Ogbomoso Business District.
It will be recalled that about seven years ago, a mass protest started at Owode/Agbowo area, which engulfed the whole city, over non-commensuration of electricity supply, which was almost at zero level and the bills allocated, regarded as “crazy bills.”
It took the intervention of Soun of Ogbomosoland, Oba Oladunni Oyewumi Ajagungbade III and some other community leaders, with promise of amends from IBEDC, before the conflict could be resolved. Yet, their dog returned to their vomit.
Ogbomoso Parapo Worldwide home branch under the chairmanship of Alhaji Saka Bello Aremole has also borne the cudgels on behalf of the people on the issue in the past. Still, no light at the end of the tunnel.
Articles were written against the authorities of IBEDC in The Insight newsmagazine and national dailies by concerned individuals notably (now late) Pastor Mark Debo Taiwo, Mr. Akin Atolugbokun and Mr. Adewuyi Adegbite with no change coming from the organization.
This unabated situation is what has made Ogbomoso Community Youth Organization, OCYF, being led by Reverend Peter Olaleye wading into the matter to bring a lasting solution so that people can finally heave a sigh of relief.
Commenting on the situation, a former staffer of the electricity distribution company noted that what transpired in Ogbomoso – crazy billing and erratic supply – cannot be tried in Ilorin, Kwara state or even in Mokwa, Niger state, “they dare not, but Ogbomoso people are in the habit of suffering silently; as you cut their hand, they will still be putting on finger-ring.
“And because they are never ready to make little sacrifice to make greater gain, ‘no, no, no, I don’t want to be disconnected,’ is what they will be saying, this feeble mindset is what the dubious officials capitalize on,” the disengaged official, who doesn’t want his name in print, asserted.
Struggle is always an avenue to uncover skeletons in rotten cupboards towards achieving a saner situation, this has been proven times without number, but when people refrain from challenging the system the status quo will remain and will be sustained to the detriment of the oppressed.
Amid the latest struggle initiated and being spearheaded by OCYF, the shady deals of IBEDC officials are being exposed through investigations and information volunteering by former staff members of the company.
The problems of erratic electricity supply in Ogbomoso, less than 10 hours supply in most areas in a week on the basis of rationing, and adoption of the fraudulent direct billing system with its evil crazy billing are all down to sharp practices by officials of IBEDC, it has been uncovered.
Another former worker of the organization, who also pleaded obscurity, revealed a lot of the atrocities perpetrated by these crooked elements while speaking with ogbomosoinsightonline.com. this morning.
According to him, the community has no business suffering epileptic electricity supply disclosing that the Ganmo electricity sub-station in Kwara state supplies enough power to Ogbomoso but that officials managing electricity distribution in the community hoard the supplied current for their own illicit gain.
In his words, “Ogbomoso is supplied by Ganmo power sub-station near Ilorin, Kwara state. Ganmo supplies adequate current capable of giving us electricity 24/7 but these officials have dubiously perfected a way to appropriate the supply for their own benefit.
“They will ration supply to areas so that instead of exhausting what is to be expended for a month, only about 30 percent of it is used and the remaining 70 percent becomes a kind of bonus to them. That is why many of them live big.”
The exasperated man further explains: “Having studied the attitude of the people of Ogbomoso that they detest being disconnected from supply they take advantage of this; so, instead of supplying six hours electricity a day, they will supply just one hour for which customers will be over joyous, to the extent that they have taken this (abridged supply) as normal.
“So, one hour, two hours’ supplies every other day will embolden IBEDC officials to hike charges and with threat of disconnection people run heads over heels to pay the bill given them. Only few have the gut to ask them to disconnect them.
“In another month when they are supposed to obtain as an instance 200 units electricity from Ganmo and they have 120 or 130 units in reserve from unused previous month supply they will buy only about 70 or 80 and the precious months’ in reservoir revert to them as gain.
“That is one way they rip-off customers. I can confidently say that Ganmo distributes adequate power to Ogbomoso that can make us enjoy stable electricity supply but these wicked officials sabotage it.
“So, through their fraudulent engagements they overshoot their target which attracts commendations at the IBEDC head office in Ibadan and at the regional office in Ilorin those ones not knowing or caring to know whether they achieved the feat through deceit or legally.
“These officials in Ogbomoso often like that commendation, that is what concerns them and not satisfaction of the customers, perhaps to divert attention from their shady deals. In fact, Ogbomoso at times perform better in revenue generation than some state capitals.”
The man said what he is saying could be attested to by the period of hours electricity was supplied yesterday, Saturday, June 19, in many parts of Ogbomoso, over 12 hours, “People should ask them where they suddenly got supply? It is a measure to placate the people over the impending protest.
“They used to claim that if they load light as they are given from Ganmo it will cause problem and loss of revenues to them. That is why when you go to Ganmo they tell you where do you keep the electricity that is given you?”
Then, there is the problem of hoarding of prepayment meters. Obviously, if people are given prepayment meters their revenue and most importantly appropriation of illicit money will drastically reduce or cease altogether.
“So, these people deliberately hoard prepayment meters. This is 21st century, why would people still be using analogue meters?” a concerned IBEDC worker disclosed.
Continuing, the man (names withheld) noted, “People have paid as far back as 2016 but they are yet to be given meters. They know if they give the meters out their reign of evil will begin to end which they do not want.
“With the direct billing system, which they prefer, feeding fat on the people is guaranteed. They give residential houses, small shops fixed charges of as high as N6, 000 and N10, 000 in a month, how reasonable is that for electricity not consumed? From the billing system to the distribution of bills, everything is defective.
“They award units arbitrarily usually in excess; somebody that should be placed on 30 units is placed on hundred units. I had written petitions on this to the headquarters and they came to investigate and finding out it was true, they made adjustments but for how many people?
“Also, they delay bill distribution many times so that the charges will be high to intentionally cause concern to customers when they receive their bills knowing these will be running helter-skelter to look for money to avoid being disconnected. By this, they also rip-off customers.
“In addition, the faults they always claim to occur in transformers and in the system generally are lies, it is to perpetuate their fraud, to cut down electricity supply. Most times there are no faults, but they will tell customers it is their responsibility to clear the fault, to buy damaged parts and they will still take money for the repair since they won’t allow non-staff to undertake repairs.
“The Owode/Agbowo substation that is at fault is a development that benefits the IBEDC officials and gives them joy lot because it is a major distribution substation in Ogbomoso, direct and constant, and its effective running has always been to their disadvantage, so they watched it to break down completely. They must do something to bring back the substation to life. It is a livewire to stable power supply in the city.”
The IBEDC shenanigans are inexhaustible even though there are several fine workers who caution them but these are often suppressed with some of them being made to suffer dismissal.
“Those at the distribution centre in Ogbomoso often lament that their ogas often ask them not to load power but they can’t do anything since they don’t want to lose their job.
“And these corrupt officials are good psychologists, they do hold that protests as are being organized often fade in time and so they quickly resume fraudulent practices, they often say, ‘don’t mind them, they will soon be tired, just pretend to play along.’ So, people must stand firm and not relent,” the retired IBEDC worker added.
Meanwhile, efforts to speak with the management of IBEDC Ogbomoso Business District proved abortive as we were given a number to call at Ilorin office but when the mobile line was called, the voice on the other end expressed ignorance. So, there have not been any responses or defence from IBEDC as at the time of filing this report.

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