House C’ttee Begins Investigation of Estimated Billings by Discos

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The House of Representatives Ad hoc Committee on Electricity Customers’ Complaints yesterday began investigative hearing of petitions filed by electricity consumers against the distribution companies.

Speaking to journalists yesterday in Lagos during an interaction with the consumers and Discos operating in the South west geopolitical zone, the Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Isreal Ajibola Famuyiwa, said the House had received a lot of petitions and complaints from Nigerians over crazy bills and poor services rendered by the electricity distribution companies.

He said public grievances against the Discos had reached a level that if the House of Representatives did not act fast, it would lead to a breakdown of law and order.

“The House in its wisdom, constituted this committee to interface with the consumers, the Discos and the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to find lasting solutions to all the problems facing the consumers. We had an interactive session with some stakeholders in Abuja. We have now decided to have proper interactions with the consumers and the Discos in all the six geopolitical zones. We are starting with Lagos in the South west and we are going to Enugu in South East, Port Harcourt in South South, Yola in North east, Kano in the North west and Nasarawa in North Central.

At the end of this exercise, we are going to write a report and we are going to look at the laws guiding the sector. If we need to replace some laws, we will do that; if we need to amend some laws, we will amend them. We will do anything within the legislative framework to protect the interest of Nigerians,” he explained.

In their petitions to the committee, the representatives of electricity consumers in the South-east expressed frustrations over the outrageous bills by some of the Discos.

The Chairman of Magodo GRA Phase Zone 1 Gateway Community Development Association, Mr. Bode Ojomo told the committee members that there would have been a breakdown of law and order if the House of Representatives had not set up the committee.
He called on the federal government to probe some of the Discos over the crazy bills they slam on their customers.

Ojomo alleged that some of the Discos are in the habit of setting outrageous monthly revenue targets and arbitrarily imposing them on electricity consumers without supplying electricity to justify the bills.
On his part, the Chairman of Ekiti Landlord and Landladies Electricity Consumers Association, Dr. Ibukun Ogundipe, told the committee that the people of Ekiti, are having a running battle with Benin Disco over exorbitant electricity bills.

“When we wanted to demonstrate, the Commissioner of Police invited us to a meeting. At the meeting, Benin Disco promised to get back to us but they never did. There are no prepaid meters in Ado Ekiti and Benin Disco sends us obnoxious bills. Before Benin Disco came on board, maximum consumption of a consumer was 150 kilowatthour but when Benin Disco came, the company hiked the bills to 300 -450 kilowatthour. It was after our demonstration that they admitted that their bills are based on estimation. Someone was paying N2,000 before and you now increased it to N10,000 when there is no power supply,” Ogundipe explained.