Boniface

Consumer Group Seeks Probe Of DisCos’ Finance

News Flash
Help Us Share This Article


An electricity consumer advocacy group, Electricity Consumer Protection Centre, has called for the probe of how Distribution Companies spend the operations expenditures (OPEX) and capital expenditure (CAPEX) provided for them in the tariff order approved by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, (NERC).

The group also rejected the recent increase in electricity tariff for customers in Band A by NERC, insisting the hike was not justified given the poor performance of electricity distribution companies, DisCos, in the past.

Executive director, Electricity Consumer Protection Centre, Chief Princewill Okorie, speaking in Abuja, lamented that over the years consumers have continued to provide basic infrastructure such as poles, transformers and cable without being reimbursed by the utilities.

Recall that NERC had last week approved a 240 per cent increase for about two million customers across the country, assuring them of at least 20 hours power supply daily.

But the Consumer Group said past tariff increases had never led to improved electricity supply in the country.

Chief Okorie said it was wrong for the federal government to continue to approve tariff increases for the DisCos when consumers have never had improved supplies for monies invested in the sector.

He noted that the government needs to keep control over pricing in the sector since the operators have shown little interest in putting money into improving infrastructure and networks.

According to him, “there are fundamental problems in the sector that the government needs to fix before talking of any tariff increase. We don’t look at the issues of implementation and enforcement. The power sector is very fundamental to the social and economic development of this nation.

“Nigeria is a signatory to the United Nations convention on human, social, cultural and political rights, and also Section 34 (1) of Nigeria’s Constitution is against torture, inhuman and degrading treatment. And from the way Nigerians are being treated today in the power sector, it is clear that they are being tortured, dehumanised and treated without respect.

READ ALSO  Nigeria Woman Helen Williams Breaks Guinness World By Creating World Longest Wig

“The increase in tariff is not justified and we reject it”, he stressed.

On the probe of discos, he said that while budgets for OPEX and CAPEX have continued to increase, they have not been held accountable for how the budgets were executed.

Okorie said the crisis in Eko DisCo was an example. “The utility continues to pay ghost workers and the cost is transferred to the consumers as part of OPEX allowed in the tariff order”

He added: “In the light of the above, we have observed that while DisCos are complaining of inadequate tariff and go to Nigerian Electricity and Regulatory Commission to increase tariff, suffering consumers are forced to pay in the existing monopolistic power sector privatisation.

 

“It is inhuman and unconscionable to obscure the level of financial rascality and imprudence exhibited by the management Board of Eko Disco in the N96 billion loan given to DisCos for the National Mass metering programme in 2020 is yet to be accounted for”.

 

In the light of the above, we have observed that while Discos are complaining of inadequate tariff and go to NERC to increase tariff, suffering consumers are forced to play in the existing monopolistic power sector privatisation. It is inhuman and unconscionable to obscure the level of financial rascality and imprudence exhibited by the management Board of Eko Disco in the N96 billion loan given to Discos for the National Mass metering program in 2020 is yet  to be accounted for. Under the current Meter Asset provider (MAP), this provides that customers who pay for meter should be refunded through energy credit. As of today, nobody is aware of the number of consumers that have paid for meters and how many have been refunded.

READ ALSO  JUST IN: Unknown Gunmen Burns Down Home of Ohanaeze Ndigbo President’s George Obiozor In Imo State (PHOTOS AND VIDEO)

 

“NERC approves operational Expenditure (OPEX) for Discos annually, yet consumers fund repairs and provision of infrastructure which Discos fail to refund them as provided by Network Expansion Investment Policy.

 

May I therefore call on President Ahmed Bola Tinubu, the National Assembly and Minister for Power to initiate a probe into the use of funds by the Disco and corruption going on in Eko Disco.

 

“The Eko Disco managing director and her colleagues who are being victimised for trying to enforce discipline should be reinstated and protected.

 

“NERC should intervene in the Eko Disco matter, carry out her functions as stated in section 34 (g) of Electricity Act 2023 which states thus “intervene in the management and control of affairs of its licences and permit holders which is considered as failed, its failing or in crises, including entering the premises and doing whatever the commission deems necessary to maintain continuity, in the provision of Electricity service and ensuring the integrity of the NESI generally,” Okorie said.

 

 



Source link


Help Us Share This Article

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *