From Ikeja Electric: Voodoo business model


From Ikeja Electric (IE), one of Nigeria’s pampered electricity distribution companies (DISCOs), having a harsh and grating disco party, by recklessly raiding helpless consumers, for services proudly un-rendered.   It is nothing but a voodoo business model.

That model is simple: be the last to render service — if any.  But be the first to tender the bill for payment — or else?  It’s a formula that works like mad; and why change a winning formula?  Indeed, why?

IE is just flush from dispatching bills, for electricity allegedly consumed, for the month of September — and the DISCO from Ikeja would appear even more prompt than prompt.  Yet, (dis)service for the month was as laggardly — if at all — as it could ever be.

Why? IE even has the audacity to quote electricity allegedly consumed, in the worst tradition of a corporate unarmed robber — or in which sort of business would you deliver little or no service but demand full payment, with a threat of disconnection?

The allegedly consumed electricity?  Voodoo, pure and simple.  Just take a casual look at the bill demand, courtesy of a telephone text, sent to a customer:

“Dear account number (specific number deliberately omitted)” goes the message, “Your consumption for September 2017 is 210.00Kwh (pray expert electrical engineers, how many hours of darkness does that translate into?).  Current charge is N, 696.65. Arrears is N18.21.  Please pay to avoid service disruption.”

Holy Moses!  But IE’s “service” is mainly disruption, if any!

Now, if you study the so-called “arrears” of N18.21, it was for darkness consumed for a certain month in 2016, after which IE rolled out a uniform bill.  That was September 2016; and back then, there was such a howl of protest that even IE realised its greed had gone too far for the consumer it routinely cheats not to notice.  So, it cuts back on its bill the following month, but greedily chalks away the so-called arrears as part of the voodoo and phantom debts, it carries in its books!

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By the way, this strategy of bill-and-threaten IE specially reserves for the helpless customers it has refused to meter, against the instruction of the industry regulator.  For those adequately metered, they have ceased to be helpless pool of fraudulent nourishment for IE.  The question is how long would IE continue this reckless gambit without something giving?

The regulatory authorities should call IE to order before things go out of hand.  You can’t be cheating customers and vaulting it at their faces.  You can’t be distilling darkness, and yet be sending disconnection gangs to threaten customers each time you roll out your voodoo bills.

The regulators should act fast and compel IE to meter its customers, so it can bill for electricity consumed.

It is the right thing to do.  Besides, it is absolutely impossible to be hostage to corporate un-armed robbery as a profit strategy.  It’s nothing but voodoo strategy that will end in grief.