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Court awards N1m damages against EKEDC for disconnecting consumer over former occupant’s unpaid bills

An Igbosere High Court in Lagos has awarded N1 million damages against Eko Electricity Distribution Company (EKEDC) for disconnecting a consumer over unpaid bill by former occupant of the building.

Justice Ibidun Harrison described as “unlawful” EKEDC’s refusal to connect the customer to electricity for unpaid bill consumed by a former occupant of the building.

The plaintiff/claimant, Mr Sunday Babalola, had through an originating summons, sued EKEDC for the refusal to connect his building to electricity for an outstanding bill owed EKEDC by a former occupant of the building.

While delivering the judgment, Justice Harrison said: “The court finds that the claimant who is more or less a new customer  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”.

The Originating Summons was brought pursuant to Sections 81 and 96 of the Electricity Power Sector Reforms Act, 2005 and Section 2 of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission’s Customer Service Standard of Performance for Distribution Companies, 2007.

The claimant urged the court to declare that EKEDC had no right to refuse to connect his property at No. 7B, Brown Road, Aguda, Surulere, Ikate, Lagos to electricity unless he pays for electricity consumed on another building, at No. 2, Adenuga St., Ikate.