James Emejo in Abuja
The Consumer Protection Council (CPC) has ordered the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) to pay a N10 million-compensation to the family of Master Samuel Ayodele who was electrocuted as a result of an alleged gross negligence and technical lapses by the company.
The sanction followed a complaint from Mr. Tade Ayodele, father of the deceased that a live electricity power cable which fell from a pole at the old Panteker Area of Kabusa, Abuja on November 9, 2015, caused the death of his son.
According to the complainant, his son had slipped and fallen on the live electricity cable on the fateful day.
But in its response to CPC’s investigation on the matter, AEDC had dissociated itself from the incident, arguing in a letter dated December 7, 2015 to the council that “the electricity distribution network in the community where the deceased lived was a substandard self help project” which should not be attributed to it or any of its authorised agent,s adding that the illegal substandard installations were merely tolerated to some extent due to the exigencies of the electricity industry.
The council, however, noted that in the course of its investigation, it visited the site, conducted spot interviews of residents of the community and sought the technical opinion from the Nigerian Electricity Management Services Agency (NEMSA), the sector regulator, set up by the federal government to, among others, carry out testing and certification of electrical installations, electricity meters, instruments and commercial services on key critical areas of Nigerian electricity supply industry.
It held the technical opinion of NEMSA concluded that the accident “occurred as a result of weak/bad low tension network and technical lapses on the part of AEDC for allowing such a substandard installations in their network and for not responding promptly to the snap conductor after it was reported to them.”
CPC, therefore, concluded that the outcome of all its investigation could not substantiate the disclaimer of the AEDC as contained in the company’s letter of December 7, 2015.
The council in reaching this conclusion, agreed with and relied on the expert opinion of NEMSA the sector regulator on quality and electricity materials.
CPC further found AEDC liable of incorporating “this self help project” into its billing system by collecting payment from the community, while failing, refusing and neglecting to disconnect the purported illegal substandard installations.
It consequently ordered the power firm to pay the sum as compensation to the complainant.
AEDC is said to have been served with the order, and is expected comply and revert to the council on or before April 30, 2016.
CPC’s Director General, Mrs. Dupe Atoki, in a statement issued by the council’s spokesman, Abiodun Obimuyiwa, said the incident would serve as a deterrent to negligence in the provision of services by businesses.
She reiterated that in line with extant regulations and international best practices, Nigerian consumers would continue to be protected from all manner of consumer abuses.