Tailors in Aba, the commercial hub of Abia, on Wednesday, staged a protest against alleged extortion by Aba Power Limited, APL, a subsidiary of Geometric Power.
The protesters alleged that in spite of the epileptic power supply from APL, the company was trying to run them out of business with estimated bills.
A former Chairman of the Association of Tailors and Fashion Designers in the state, Onyebuchi Nwigwe, said that they were not happy with the activities of APL which, he said, were affecting their trade.
Another tailor, Ikenna Agu, said that they were pained because the company was using policemen and soldiers to harass and intimidate them to pay.
He said that the company came with soldiers on Saturday to their business premises, disconnected their lines without prior warning and also beat up some of them, including some customers.
Agu appealed to the State Government to urgently intervene and call the company to order.
According to him, what is painful about the issue is that APL gives us bills that are more than the number of shops we have in a block.
“How can I be paying N18,000 monthly in my small shop, when I don’t have up to 24 hours light in a month?
“They bring 38 bills in our own building which does not have 38 shops,” he said.
Also, Ugochukwu Iheme, another tailor said that “APL is making life miserable for them” and that the demonstration was meant to expose the fraud in the company.
Ebere Okoro also said the problem was that the bill was not commensurate with the energy they supply.
Okoro urged the government to step into the matter and stop APL from continuing to extort them.
The Chief Commercial Officer of APL, Blessing Ogbe, debunked the allegations, saying that the tailors’ clusters were placed on the busiest electricity feeder.
Ogbe said that the company ensured that the feeder serves between 12pm and 6pm daily, adding that it was not true that they were placed on estimated billing.
He further said that APL ensured that the National Electricity Regulatory Commission capping order was applied.
He challenged the tailors to bring the bill to cross-check the capping of that month.
He accused them of trying to cut corners, saying that he was aware that there could be up to 30 persons in a shop but they would want to pay the bill for three tailors.