Continued from Part 5
Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN)
y brother and I prevailed over our widow sister to live in our house in the country home in order not to lock it up. But her own daughter had a set of twins and needed nursing assistance. So my sister had to leave the country home for the city, where the daughter lives.
I commend my sister for being meticulous; she did not only put out all the lamps but actually turned it off at the mains. She returned home after 18months to discover that PHCN had disconnected the line. PHCN asked her to pay N30,000.00 or one exorbitant amount as accumulated charges.
My elder brother and I visited the PHCN office to inquire how they came about the charges as the PHCN had evidence that the meter did not read even a point extra from the reading it was before my sister travelled.
I told the PHCN manager that I will be willing to pay maintenance fee if there is anything like it. He insisted that the whole N30,000.00 on the bill must be paid.
The manager said my sister ought to have come to report to them before she locked up the house. I have never heard such a ridiculous argument "Sir are you energy distributor or a security outfit that you must know about citizen's movement?" I asked.
It needs a citizen, the profile of Chief Earnest Sonekan to win such an argument. It was in the paper at a time, when NITEL gave some ridiculous charges to a phone, which the Chief installed at his mother's apartment in the country home, which only received calls as the old woman could not dial by herself. NITEL had to re-call the bill.
NITEL staff behaved shrew in the past. They would connect for their friends on an innocent citizen's line and that one would wonder at the outrageous bill.
I remember the frustration of a Professor friend, while we both were in Saudi Arabia. The house was under lock throughout the summer vacation because his wife and children were with him in Riyadh. In that month he had a bill of N50,000.00. How come? He pursued it to the Kaduna office, which was said to be where the bill originated. He had no choice but to pay up.
Every Nigerian I met, will forever be grateful to former President Obasanjo for pulling the rug of NITEL feet with the use of mobile telephone he brought to existence. The bluff of the NITEL staff in those days were unimaginable. Of course as I wrote in the last piece, the services of almost all those mobile phones are disgusting, but they are by far more useful than the days of NITEL
Back to PHCN
We moved in to this house in Nov. 1997. PHCN had always brought nauseating bills. Many times the house was inhabited by one or two persons who went to work in the morning and returned late in the afternoon. Same thing happens to most peoples' homes. The meter is not read, PHCN staff writes bills depending on how big the house is. About 3 months ago God rescued me from that agony (since 1997) when a staff took it upon herself to rectify the situation, making sure that I got a bill consistent with what I use.
I got to know Emaus somehow. I had a 30 meter hose, which I used for draining water from my fish ponds. Shortly after, I dug a soak away and I seldom needed the hose. So the hose had a new appearance. Emaus requested that I lend it to him. I did. The day I needed it again, I went to him to have it. Emaus told me, he was broke one day and he had sold it to a shop that carries similar wares. I was appalled, I just could not believe my ears. The greater shock came, when I asked what much he sold it, "N3,000.00" something I bought for N28,000.00. I asked him to take me to the shop who bought it so that I could re-purchase it, he dragged his feet till I was fed up.
That is not the end of the story. In spite his refusal to take me to the shop where he sold the hose, I couldn't believe it when one morning he returned to borrow "N1,000.00" He promised to return it the following morning. He lives within walking distance from my house. His morning is yet to break after over 18 months. One Sunday morning we drove in the opposite direction. I was going to Church. He too was certainly going to Church as he was driving towards the direction of the Church he attends. He looked elsewhere in pretense that he did not see me.
Continued from Part 5