In an apparent response to the recent multi-million naira fines slammed on it by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) for allegedly failing to submit quarterly reports on their key performance indicators, the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (PHED) has employed sixty linesmen to boost its worforce.
According to a statement by the company, the measure was part of its determination to position and strengthen its technical team for effective fault clearing and better customer satisfaction.
The regulatory agency had slammed N45.6 million fines on four Discos, including Port Harcourt Disco, for failing to either submit their audit reports on time, or refusal to satisfactorily address service complaints brought to them by their customers.
Both Enugu and Port Harcourt Discos were found liable of failing to submit quarterly reports on their key performance indicators which NERC said ran contrary to terms and conditions of their licence and Section 63 (1) of the Electric Power Sector Reform Act (EPSR) Act 2005.
“By failing to submit third quarter report in 2015, the Commission hereby fines PHEDC N10, 000 per day from July 15, 2015 to July 25, 2016 giving a total of N3, 760, 000; by failing to submit fourth quarter report in 2015 the Commission fines PHEDC N10, 000 per day from October 15, 2015 to July 25, 2016 giving a total N2, 840, 000; by failing to submit first quarter report in 2016 the Commission fines PHEDC N10, 000 per day from January N10, 000 per day giving a total N1, 920, 000. Grand total of the fines payable by PHEDC within the next two weeks beginning from July 25, 2016 when the directive was signed is N8, 520, 000,” NERC had explained.
The 60 linesmen made up of 30 linesmen, 23 assistant linesmen 7 linesman trainees have been on boarded into the company after a one week intensive training process to prepare and equip them for their new roles.
Speaking at the training, the Chief Executive Officer, Jay McCoskey charged the lines men to adhere strictly to safety rules while carrying out their responsibilities.
He emphasised on the need for safety of staff, workplace and environment, adding that the company has an obligation to provide safety equipment like Personal Protective Equipment, PPE and ensure a safe working environment at all times.
He said that the success of PHED depended on the linesmen adding that they were the most valued people working behind the scene, hence, encouraging them to stay alive for their families and loved ones.
The PHED boss also enjoined them to carry out their jobs with integrity by shunning corrupt practices, fraudulent acts and illegal actions of receiving financial gains from customers. He noted that such acts are detrimental to the company and could impact negatively on the company’s revenue.
He averred that corruption in whatever guise would not be tolerated and anybody found engaging in it shall be summarily dealt with.
“Corruption is like a cancer that spreads very fast, and it should not be encouraged in PHED,” he said.
McCoskey also urged them to be focused and committed to their job stating that the company operates a policy that rewards excellent performance of employees.
The company had in June employed 109 graduate trainees to fill gaps that were identified.