NERC Fines Abuja Disco N300m for Minor’s Electrocution


•Deceased’s family to get N50m in 14 days

Chineme Okafor in Abuja

The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has slammed N300 million fine on Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) over the company’s alleged failure to secure its electricity distribution assets from third-party intrusion, which eventually led to the death of a four-year-old child in Niger State.

NERC has also disclosed in a notice of its regulatory enforcement action against the distribution company, that out of the N300 million fine, the family of the deceased minor, Master Mohammed Arafat Jibril, will get N50 million in compensation for their loss within 14 days.

In the regulatory enforcement order obtained by THISDAY from NERC, the regulatory agency accused Abuja Disco of not doing enough to prevent the death of the boy on April 11, 2019, by failing to secure its electricity distribution asset at the Senior Quarters of the Federal Low-cost Housing Estate, Maikunkele in Bosso Local Government Area of Niger State from third-party incursion.

According to NERC, Mohammed died from electrocution on a 300-kilovolt amp (KVA) 11/0.415kVA distribution substation in Maikunkele area, which feeds from 33/11 KV Maikunkele injection substation on Airport feeder in Bosso area.

It explained that the distribution asset supplied electricity to the quarters where Mohammed and his family lived, adding that Section 1.3.26 Part IV of its Distribution Code imposes an obligation on Abuja Disco to ensure that distribution transformers, switchgears and distribution boxes installed in streets and accessible to public are protected by locking the doors and/or providing a suitable fence with gate wherever possible.
NERC also stated that beyond securing the assets, the Disco ought to have put up prominently displayed ‘danger’ signs on the fence and equipment to warn the public of the implications of any unauthorised access.

It noted that Section 5.3.1 of the Nigerian Electricity Health and Safety Code (HSC) requires Abuja Disco to send a preliminary report within 72 hours of the accident and death of Mohammed, but the Disco failed to do so.

“AEDC’s negligence in complying with the terms and conditions of its licence, distribution code and HSC resulted in the death of a four-year old boy, Master Mohammed Arafat Jibril, on April 11, 2019 at the Senior Quarters of the Federal low-Cost Housing Estate, Maikunkele, Bosso Local Government Area of Niger State,” NERC said in the regulatory order.

It added that: “AEDC failed to take reasonable steps to protect the public from injury by ensuring that the distribution systems are maintained in accordance with standards in the distribution code, thereby leading to the fatal electrocution of Master Mohammed Arafat Jibril.

“AEDC failed to send a preliminary report of the accident within 72 hours contrary to the provisions of section 5.3.1 of the HSC. AEDC failed to comply with the provisions of the commission’s regulations and breached the terms and conditions of its distribution licence.

“AEDC shall pay the sum of N50 million to the family of late Master Mohammed Arafat Jibril as compensation to his family and this compensation payment shall be made to the family at formal presentation to be held at the commission on May 28, 2019.
“AEDC shall pay a fine in the sum of N250 million to the commission for all infractions/violations identified in this order. This fine shall be due and payable by May 20, 2019.”

The regulatory agency also mandated the Disco to conduct a detailed safety audit of its network, and send the report to it within 90 days.
NERC also added that the safety records of Abuja Disco between 2018 and 2019 showed that the company recorded nine deaths, two burns and a fall within the period.

In a similar development, NERC equally fined a third-party electricity distributor in Lagos – PIPP LVI Disco Limited, the sum of N10, 000 for each day that it allegedly supplied electricity illegally to customers that were not within its license area.

It explained that PIPP was licensed by it to supply electricity to certain group of customers but it subsequently got a complaint from the Eko Disco of PIPP’s extension of its services without regulatory approval to Landmark Tower and Village; Trinity Church; Upbeat Recreational Centre; The George Hotel; Second Toll Gate Plaza; Ministry of Works and Infrastructure (Tolling Company); Street Light, Glover Road, Ikoyi, Lagos; Batequip (Sun Heaven Hotel); Motor Boat Club; Riverside Properties Ltd; as well as Globe Motors Holding Nigeria Limited; among others.

NERC also directed PIPP to immediately suspend its supply of electricity to these customers.
It also directed the company to compensate Eko Disco for loss of revenue for each of the days electricity was supplied to those customers.