N1 Million Damages: EKEDC Appeals Judgment
The Eko Electricity Distribution Company (EKEDC) says it has filed an appeal against the judgment of an Igbosere High Court in Lagos which awarded N1 million damages against it in a suit filed by one Mr Sunday Babalola.
The General Manager, Corporate Communications, EKEDC, Mr Godwin Idemudia disclosed this in a statement issued on Sunday.
Idemudia said the court had awarded the damages against the company for refusing to connect the claimant’s property over unpaid outstanding electricity bill.
He said that the EKEDC had appealed the judgment on the grounds that it was inconsistent with industry regulation.
Idemudia said the company had the right to demand for outstanding payments before reconnection in accordance with the provisions of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC)`s Connection and Disconnection Procedure for Electricity Services, 2007.
He said the claimant, on purchase of the property in July 2019, failed to carry out due diligence on the existing outstanding bill on the property and making sure that the previous owner settled all outstanding electricity bills before the conclusion of the sale transaction.
“On approaching EKEDC to be reconnected to our infrastructure, the company informed the claimant that there is an outstanding bill left unpaid by the previous owner of the property before he secretly sold the property to the claimant without any recourse or notice to us.”
Idemudia said that the company had always carried out its operation within regulatory framework and industry guideline and was, therefore, confident that the judgment would be overturned at the appellate court.
Justice Ibidun Harrison who sat over the case described as “unlawful” EKEDC’s refusal to connect the customer to electricity for unpaid bill consumed by a former occupant of the building.
While delivering the judgment, Harrison said: “The court finds that the claimant who is more or less a new customer is not entitled to pay the outstanding bill consumed by the former occupant of the building, unless there is an agreement to exonerate the former landlord of the arrears.
“The refusal to connect the claimant’s building to electricity is unlawful.
“The defendant (EKEDC) can refuse to connect if the unpaid bill was consumed by the claimant.
“The court mandates the defendant to connect the claimant and he is entitled to damages.
“Damages in the sum of N1 million is to be paid to the claimant by the defendant for the trauma which the defendant subjected the claimant, for its refusal to connect the claimant to electricity”.
By Peace Obi