You have failed Nigerians, electricity consumers tell DISCOS

Electricity consumers in the country on Wednesday accused electricity distribution companies in the country, saying they have failed to provide uninterrupted and cost friendly power to the citizens almost four years after they took over the successor companies of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN).

They spoke at the on-going House of Representatives, Ad-hoc committees on electricity customer’s complaints about electricity consumers within the South-West areas where they implored the Federal Government to take a holistic approach in reviewing the activities of some distribution companies in the South-West region over non-performance

Speaking, Chairman, Community Development Association, Magodo Phase 1, Mr Bode Ojumo, tasked the committees to enact a law that would restrain distribution companies from estimated billing without reading of the meter.

According to him, residents are still battling with over-invoicing and estimated billings from the distribution company, despite the inadequate supply of power to some states a few months ago.

“Ikeja Disco has failed in their responsibility to their customers; I urged the electricity regulator to attached stiffer sanction on non-performing Discos.”

Enough is enough; we cannot continue to be paying for darkness. We are paying over N35, 000 monthly on three bedroom apartment,’’ he said.

Another consumer, Mrs Ladun Lawal, a retired civil servant from Ife, Osun State, condemned Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC) over the persistent high bills being given by the company without corresponding energy supply.

Lamenting the culture of crazy billings being perpetrated by the company, Lawal urged the management of the Disco to train their staff on good customer relations.

According to her, installation of a pre-paid meter by IBEDC to customers has become a taboo as they live fat from estimated billing.

“I paid over N80, 000 for meter since 2016 but am yet to receive the meter and they keep sending bills of over N 200,000 monthly to my place.

“It is painful that this is happening in this country. How will one access light from the IBEDC for just three hours in the entire month and the bill is mind-boggling,’’ she said.

Mrs Abosede Ogunyemi, a trader in Benin, Delta State lamented the crazy electricity bills in spite of epileptic power supply, adding that many had waited for years to obtain prepaid meters.

Ogunyemi described the fixed and estimated system of billing as fraudulent, adding that the system had also been faulted by the National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) for cheating consumers.

She decried the arbitrary billing made by consumers of the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) were not treated over the year.

She said that the estimated billing system had become a means to exploit Nigerians and urged the government to intervene by making durable prepaid meters available to consumers.

“I have stopped using the public power supply for two years ago due to the epileptic power supply and unscrupulous officials of the distribution company.

“The officials would bring between N35,000 and N47, 000 monthly when their company did not supply us power up to 3 hours in a whole month,’’ she said.

However, Mr Israel Famurewa, Chairman, Ad-hoc Committee on electricity customer’s complaints condemned arbitrary billing by most of the distribution companies in Nigeria, saying that the committee have received a lot of complaints and petitions from electricity consumers within the south-west constituencies on estimated billings, crazy bills and lack of meter.

According to him, Nigerians are complaining about crazy bills and poor services rendered by the distribution companies. And it has gotten to a stage where if the house did not do anything about it there may be a serious breakdown of law and order where people will take laws into their hands.

The house in its wisdom constituted this committee to interface with the consumers, the Discos and the regulatory bodies. We are to find a lasting solution to the problem of the system.

We decided in Abuja to have a proper interaction with the Discos in different geopolitical zones, in Southwest, South-East, South-South, North-East, North-West and North Central before we have the proper briefing in Abuja.

“At end of the exercise, hopefully, we believe that we will take the report back to the house and discuss it in the house at the larger parliament.

“We will be looking into the laws guiding the sector holistically, and see if there is the need for an amendment. The legislative arm will do everything possible within the legislative frameworks to act in the interest of Nigerians.

“At the end of this, we are going to write our reports if there is need to repeal some laws we will and if we need to re-enact we will do. We have the mandate to take the report back to the house in six weeks,’’ he said.

Source: independentng