Groups urge revocation of DisCos’ licences over inefficiency, consumer exploitation, others
Story from Abah ADAH, Abuja
The Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) has been asked to revoke the operational licences of the Electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos), in the country over poor service, exploitation of consumers through abnormal setting of metres and issuance of crazy bills among others.
The Human Rights Liberty Access and Peace Defenders Foundation, and the Campaign for Democracy, South East zone made the call in a statement made available to journalists on Monday, after their strategic general meeting, according to Punch.
They said the inefficiency of the electricity providers showed that the privatisation of that sector by the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan was a “huge hoax and scam”.
The group in the statement signed by its national President, Dede Uzor, expressed shock that the All Progressives Congress-led by President Muhammadu Buhari, still allowed the fraudulent scam to continue nearly eight years after they took over the reins of power.
The group lamented that there is nothing electricity distribution companies provide for Nigeria except to exploit and extort Nigerians by charging exorbitant bills and manipulated prepaid billing system.
They accused the DisCos of introducing fast reading metres by replacing the old ones, while they have bluntly refused to metre those people who are still in estimated billings so that they can continue to exploit them.
They lamented that in the face of all these high charges, the services are abysmally poor as they refuse to supply power to the consumers even when there is enough power on the grid.
The rights group, however, noted that consumers have continued to bear the brunt of replacing packed up transformers, damaged parts and pay for the services rendered by staff or agents of DisCos under duress and exploitations.
It said, “In the face of all this, the services are still abysmally poor. There is load shedding everywhere and sometimes, there would be no light for several days, weeks and months due to minor faults” especially in Fegge Onitsha, Onitsha, Iyiowa and Okpoko in Ogbaru LGA, Awada and Omogba in Idemili LGA, 33 among other areas.
“DisCos have become conduit pipe and an avenue through which consumers are being exploited by privileged few who bought over the companies from the federal government in the name of privatisation through estimated and crazy bills without providing light.
“For those using prepaid metres, the DisCos have installed fast-reading metres that make power consumption for the customers very expensive and exploitative. In addition to the inbuilt system, they made the metres enter into what they call tamper code.”
The groups specifically accused the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC), of corruptive distribution of power and load shading in some commercial and residential areas in the South East.
It also called for the immediate overhaul of power system in Nigeria and removal of feeder mangers, managers, distribution managers, sectional heads and others involved in contributing to poor power supply in the entire South-East.
“We call on the federal government to develop other sources of generating power such as solar as well as allow companies, organisations and individuals who can generate their own power to do so and distribute without facing unnecessary bottleneck from the system.
“Unfortunately, the current administration has not demonstrated enough political will to improve power supply in the country.
“They have not done anything to improve power in the country. They cannot even compel the DisCos to carry out the federal government’s metering programme. And that is why estimated billing system still persists as the major source of exploiting consumers,” the groups added.