FROM THE PREACHER"S LENSES

Thursday, June 4, 2020
Liberationwords1@gmail.com
Lagos, Nigeria
UTILITY SERVICE BILLING IN THE UNITED STATES COMPARED WITH NIGERIA

y publication "Prayer against the Oppressors of the Masses of Nigeria" of March 20 refers.

The same was aired on all the radio stations, paid for by the Mission on Sunday March 29 and Monday March 30 as the case could be.

The subject of the prayer was particularly in relation to the company that supplies us with electricity.

The defunct Nigeria Electricity Power Authority (NEPA) had one time in the past duped me. No one occupied the family home in the country side for over a year and the power was switched off from the mains, yet NEPA made us to pay unreasonable exorbitant sum of money for electricity that was not consumed.

Meanwhile the Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC) wants the Church, which I pastor to pay a ridiculous exorbitant sum of money for electricity not consumed.

A friend in the USA, who read my prayer has posted to me a detailed account of his recent experience with a utility company in his city in order to compare my Nigeria experience with what happens in an honest and understanding, environment where Civil Servants are very dedicated to the people they serve, rather than robbing them.

In April, my friend got an unusual water bill. He has lived in the same house for about thirteen years. His water bill has been consistent between $50-$60/month. But this time it read $96+.

He initially thought that each household in the county was leveled some extra money to offset the bill of the heavy damages caused by a destructive tornado that ravaged a neighboring county in March.

But at the second thought he decided to drive down to the City Office to find out the exact thing that happened why the bill went up so much.

Getting there, he met no one due to the lockdown brought about by the Coronavirus pandemic. But he read a notice, with a telephone number to call, in case of any enquiry.

My friend got home and called the number. He gave his reason for calling.

The person at the other end gave him the name and the e-mail address of the Water & Sewer Billing Manager, who can address his concern. He also advised that he should check for any leakage in his house.

But before they hung the phone, my friend asked who he had the privilege of talking to.

I am the Mayor" "Mayor Jason Cole?" my friend asked unbelievably.

"Yap" Mayor Cole responded. "

Mayor, performing the duty of a receptionist!

"Yap" the Mayor confirmed"

"I am impressed. Thank you Mayor"

My friend searched round his house to eventually discover that there was a small leakage; so small, which he did not pay attention to it because the water dripped into the patio.

He wrote the concerned manager in charge of billing as the Mayor advised, and in short a big adjustment was made to the bill.

A total of $115.25 was waved due to leakage in the home of my friend, which the Water Service could have responded that it was no fault of theirs but what the meter in his house read.

Compare this with what happens in Nigeria where the Electricity company charges exorbitantly for units of power not even consumed and still has the audacity to tell the consumer that it is a computer generated bill and nothing can be done but the bill must be paid or the power is cut; the same story, which occurred in the ignoble days of Nigeria Telecommunication Service (NITEL), making a fool of themselves, thinking they are talking to uneducated people.

The prayer I made in my paid radio broadcasts of March 29 on the subject was very much gladly received by many listeners who have been suffering in silence with the fraudulent practices of our electricity supplier.

Unfortunately, when some of us are busy spending our fortune to make Nigeria a pleasant place to live, working assiduously so that our citizens rather than seeking comfort in other countries, are able to stay comfortably at home, it is very disappointing to see an organization like a particular Radio station erstwhile trusted for its boldness in fighting for the wellbeing of citizens, stop my aforesaid prayer on their radio, midstream for fear of sanction. Who should have sanctioned them for a Pastor voicing out the injustice perpetrated to the masses by unscrupulous utility service?

The details of the communication, which transverses between the Water & Sewer Billing Manager and my friend, which he made available to me go thus.

Watch carefully the courtesy of the language of the Billing Manager.

04/14/2020

Dear Ms. A. Wood.

Indulgence for a Waiver in water Leakage Bill

I was alarmed with my billing cycle of 02/04/2020 to 03/03/2020, which read $96.64. It was never like this since 2007 when we acquired this property. Most times, it was an average of $55 and seldom $60.00.

I went to the office but met it shut. I later called a number I found at the entrance. I was advised to look for any leakage. I was amazed, surprised and impressed at the end of my enquiry to discover that I had been dialoguing with the Mayor himself, doing the job of a receptionist. I could not hide my emotion. He gave me your e-mail address.

Pardon the digress.

It was not very easy to find a Plumber to go into a stranger's home during this time of lock-down. Eventually, I found one on Friday April 10 who identified the cause as a weak and relaxed valve in the Heater system. The leakage was not noticeable, because it leaked into the fence.

The faults have been repaired on April 10, I will appreciate if you will waive the excess in my bills. I believe I will have a similar bill in the next billing cycle. Kindly waive all excesses.

Warm regards

Ms. A. Wood replied same day.

Dear Mr. A,

I am happy to hear that you were able to find your leak and have it repaired. I am also glad that Mayor Cole was able to assist you with your inquiry. :) I have attached the "Plumbers Affidavit", which is just a fancy word for "Leak Adjustment Request Form", so that you may see the standard form and requirements when submitting such request. It is not necessary to fill this out as I will use your attached statement to fill it in for you and then attach your statement with signature to the request. However, I do require an invoice or receipt for the repair that was made. If you are able to fax, email, or place a copy of it in our drop box I will be then able to process your request.

Unfortunately, our policy does not allow for a full refund of the difference in usage when there is a leak. There is a criteria for determining the credit amount. In the case of your leak you will be eligible for the full difference of the sewer on a maximum of 2 months as well as HALF of the difference of the water on those 2 months. Looking at your usage I can see that the next bill is twice the current. Please know that the bill must be issued before I am able to adjust it. So you will receive the full bill amount, but should be able to contact me (or the office if we are back to usual by then) to find out your adjusted balance prior to submitted your payment. You may do the same for this current bill once I am able to process the request.

Stay Safe & Stay Well

A. Wood

Water & Sewer Billing Manager

Office (615) 287-8636 Ext. 3236

Cell (615) 892-0003

Fax (615) 793-4989

Tue, Apr 14 2020, 7:06 PM

Dear Ms A. W,

Thanks for your prompt response. How wonderful it is to have City Officials most dedicated to the service of their community. God bless you.

Please find attached the screenshot of the check I wrote for the plumber, Mr. K. A, on 04/ 10/2020. I screenshot it from my on line banking account.

Warm regards.

04/15/2020

Thank you, Mr. A,

I have received everything I need to submit and process your request. I am working from home today, but will be in the office tomorrow and will review adjustments then. I will let you know when your first adjustment has been processed and the result. Thank you.

04/15/2020

Thank you Ms. Wood and may God bless you.

04/22/2020

Hi Ms. Wood,

Are you able to do the adjustment to my bill? Good evening

04/23/2020

Yes, the first adjustment has been processed. Remaining balance due is $113.66, which is an accumulation of 2 separate bills (one of which qualified for part of your adjustment). The next bill to be issued will get an adjustment as well.

04/23/2020

Thank you Ms. Wood. God bless you real good. Should I be expecting a new bill in the post?

04/23/2020

No, Sir. A new bill will not generate. You may use the current one and just correct the balance to $113.66. Thank you!

05/10/2020

Dear Ms. Wood,

"Looking at your usage I can see that the next bill is twice the current. Please know that the bill must be issued before I am able to adjust it. So you will receive the full bill amount, but should be able to contact me (or the office if we are back to usual by then) to find out your adjusted balance prior to submitted your payment. You may do the same for this current bill once I am able to process the request"

Happy mother's day Ms. Wood,

Above is part of your letter to me on Apr.14. I have received the new bill. It is just as you wrote it in the letter above. It is $161.61.

Kindly adjust as you promised.

Warm regards and have a blessed week

(05/13/2020)

Dear Mr. A.

Thank you so much for your patience and understanding throughout this adjustment process. You have been the ideal customer!

I have processed your final adjustment. The $161.61 bill has now been adjusted. Adjusted balance due is now $73.15.

Thank you again! It has been my pleasure to assist.

05/13/2020

I am greatly relieved. Thank you very much Ms. Wood. You will not lose your reward in Jesus name.

Everyone reading or listening, please pray to God that we too may attain this level in our country. They are also human beings like us. Pray for righteousness to rein in our land. Pray that God may take away from us: greed, selfishness, lack of consideration for another fellow and give us the Holy Spirit of dedication for the country and love for our fellow human beings. Pray that entering the Kingdom of God at the end of this life will be our great concern.

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