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SMEs owners protest erratic power supply in Lagos

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Oluwole Farotimi

Small and Medium Scale Enterprises business owners, under the aegis of Association of Shop Owners, Sura Complex on Lagos Island, yesterday, stormed the premises of Eko Electricity Distribution Company (EKEDC) in Marina, to protest against poor and erratic power supply.

The aggrieved business owners, led by their Chairman, Mrs Bunmi Ann Ajayi, demanded that they have resolved henceforth to source electricity power from an Independent Power Project (IPP) and no are longer ready to do business with EKEDC.

The protesters brandished placards with inscriptions such as: “Sura Association say no to EKEDC, we want IPP,” “Stop EKEDC exploitation, IPP come to rescue us,” “We are tired of epileptic power supply, EKEDC stop disrupting our businesses,” FG save our businesses, give us IPP,” “Uninterrupted power supply is an illusion under EKEDC,” among others.

The protesters, who gathered at the entrance of the disco lamented that through the epileptic power supply from EKEDC, the over 1,000 shops in the shopping complex had virtually become empty as many business owners had left due to collapse of their businesses.

Speaking with newsmen, thereafter, Mrs Ajayi further lamented that EKEDC lacked efficient customer service and is only interested in forcing her members to pay “outrageous” electricity bills or be disconnected.

She added: “We came to protest to Eko Disco. We are small business people and electricity supply is so crucial to our businesses.

“In Sura Business Complex, we have over 1,000 shops but, if you come to the business complex now, the complex is half-occupied because people have been leaving as there is no power to do business.

“It is a multi-purpose business community where you have printers, where you have people in production and service industry so we have people who need constant and regular power supply.

“We realise that in Eko Disco, there is actually nothing like customer service.

“The only thing we get from Eko Disco is pay your bill, if you have outstanding, you have to pay or you are disconnected, that is the only conversation we have with Eko Disco in terms of explaining to them that how come we have two or three hours of power supply or some days we don’t have power supply at all.

“There is actually no solution to that,” Ajayi lamented.

Addressing the protesters, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Eko Electricity Distribution Plc, Adeoye Fadeyi, said the issues at stake, which led to disconnection of customers could be resolved through dialogue.

He promised that the shopping complex would be immediately reconnected while the company would find time to resolve other issues at stake.

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