Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
The House of Representatives, Ad-hoc Committee investigating arbitrary charges by electricity Distribution Companies (DISCOs), yesterday, berated the National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) over excessive charges by Discos. The Ad-hoc Committee chaired by Isreal Ajibola Famurewa, at a public, in Abuja said NERC as the regulator has failed in curtailing the excesses of the DISCOs.
According to the lawmakers, most of the electricity distribution companies, are in the habit of charging consumers outrageous bills through their estimated billing system, even as power supply in most parts of the country is still very poor.
One of the lawmakers, Tope Danladi, said the Discos have deliberately refused to give pre-paid meters to Nigerians, so that they can continue to exploit electricity consumers, noting that many businesses have collapsed, with attendant costs on the economy, because of epileptic power supply. Danladi stated that “Discos deliberately refused to supply pre-paid meters, so that they can continue with arbitrary billings. Service providers area complete failure. NERC is one of the agencies leading the country down the drain. It is not a matter of English. You keep on having seminars, almost on every other day. Yet there is no single improvement. NERC, you are a complete failure.”
Similarly, Muazu Lawal, said: “I think Discos and others are not ready for the job before them. How canyou be operating like that. You just go about billing people the way you like without considering the actual power they consume. This happens everywhere in the country, including here in Abuja. This is unacceptable. Discos are either operated by fraudsters or they’re just extorting money from Nigerians. If you’re not ready for the job, tell us you’re not ready.”
Speaking at the public hearing, the Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Godwin Emiefele, who was represented by the Head of Infrastructure Financing , Elder Boma Binima said the apex bank has intervened in the power sector, so as to ensure stable power supply.
He said : ”to make electricity sure and sufficient, we also intervened by providing a payment assurance facility . And to date, we have disbursed N330 billion out of a projected N701 billion.”
However, the NERC Chairman, James Momoh, said the Commission under his watch remains committed to improving power supply in the country