EEDC Fails To Shine In Court, As Owerri-Based Private Legal Practitioner, Barr. J C Uwandu Floors Company Over Disconnecting Electric Supply Without Notice

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.Ordered To Pay 6.270m In Damages

A High Court of Imo State sitting in Owerri per Hon. Justice K.A Leweanya, J, has delivered judgment in the Suit filed by an Owerri-based legal practitioner and social Engineer, Barr. J C Uwandu as the Plaintiff against EEDC and one of her staff, Chima Udochi J in Suit No. HOW/267/2019 BETWEEEN BARR. JONATHAN C UWANDU V. ENUGU ELECTRICITY DISTRIBUTION COMPANY (EEDC) & ANOR, wherein the Plaintiff claimed against the Defendants jointly and severally as follows:

A.    A Declaration that the disconnection of the source of electricity of the Plaintiff at No. 48 Amaigbo Street, Owerri, Imo State by the Defendants on 19/12/2018 when the Plaintiff had paid and displayed the Receipt is unlawful and a breach of duty owed the Plaintiff by the Defendants.

B.    N170, 000. 00 (One Hundred and Seventy Thousand Naira only) being special Damages.

C.    The sum N10, 000, 000. 00 (Ten Million Naira only) being general damages for breach of duty owed the Plaintiff by the Defendants.

D.   Cost of this Suit assessed at N500,000. 00 (Five Hundred Thousand Naira).

E.     An Order directing the Defendants to pay 10% interest on whatever sum adjudged due to the Plaintiff from the date of judgment till liquidation.

In a recent judgment, the High Court after hearing evidence, receiving Exhibits in the Matter, evaluating them and hearing J C Uwandu, Esq and S.I Amadi – Obi, Esq of Counsel to the Plaintiff and 1st Defendant respectively, held that there was privity of Contract between the Plaintiff and EEDC and there was non – compliance by EEDC to Section 5 (1) (a) – (f) of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission’s Connection and Disconnection Procedure for Electricity Service, 2007 which required a disconnection notice in writing before a disconnection of the electricity supply and the disconnection notice ought to state the following:

a.      Payment date is clearly shown on the bill.

b.     Payment date is at-least 10 working days from the date of delivery of the bill to the supply address or delivery address provided by the customer, which is acceptable to the distribution company;

c.       Payment date has not been superseded by a subsequent payment date issued to the same customer for the same supply address;

d.      Period between the payment date and the date of disconnection is not less than 3 months;

e.       Distribution company has verified from its record that the bill has not been paid;

f.        Distribution Company has given the customer a written warning that the electricity supply shall be disconnected if payment is not made by the payment date and the warning contains:

                     i.            The date of its delivery to the supply address or any other address provided by the customer and;

                   ii.             A telephone number and or address acceptable to the distribution company, where the customer can request assistance for paying the outstanding bill.

The Court also found that EEDC failed to comply with Section 9 of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission’s Connection and Disconnection Procedure for Electricity Service, 2007 which requires a post-disconnection Notice in writing advising the Customer of the following:

1.      The date and time of disconnection;

2.      The reason for disconnection;

3.      The actions to be taken by the customer to have the electricity supply reconnected and;

4.      The contact address and telephone number of the distribution company.

Consequent upon the above findings, the Court granted the following Reliefs to the Plaintiff:

A.    A Declaration that the disconnection of the source of electricity of the Plaintiff at No. 48 Amaigbo Street, Owerri, Imo State by the Defendants on 19/12/2018 when the Plaintiff had paid and displayed the Receipt is unlawful and a breach of duty owed the Plaintiff by the Defendants.

B.   N170, 000. 00 (One Hundred and Seventy Thousand Naira only) being special Damages.

C.   The sum N6, 000, 000. 00 (Six Million Naira only) being general damages for breach of duty owed the Plaintiff by the Defendants.

D.   Cost of this Suit assessed at N100, 000. 00 (One Hundred Thousand Naira).