Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has disclosed that the ‘proposing order’ that it plans to introduce is expected to be a catalyst for the distribution companies (Discos) to fast-track deployment of meters to unmetered customers.
NERC’s Commissioner in charge of Consumer Affairs, Dr. Moses Arigu, gave the hint yesterday in Abuja at the “Public Consultation on Capping of Estimated Billing, Distribution Franchising and Competitive Transition Charge”.
He said that the various proposing options were aimed at improving on the services being rendered to the people.
“We must bear in mind that while customers are being metered through Meter Assets Provider (MAP), no all unmetered customers will be metered at the same time and those who are yet to be metres should not be arbitrarily billed. Thus, the proposing order is expected to be a catalyst or the discos to accelerate or fast-track deployment of metres to unmetered customers.
“The commission will closely monitor the accelerated deployment of metres through MAP initiative; it is also worthy to note that the scheme is designed to tackle issues relating but not limited to adherence to timeline for replacement of faulty metres, timely metering of new connections and elimination of bulk billing/arbitrary billing,” he added.
On distribution franchising, he explained that, “a regulatory process to be applied by discos to authorise a third party to provide electric distribution utility services in a particular area within the disco’s coverage area of supply.”
Arigu noted that on competitive transition charge that a regulatory process to address among other things, the loss of allowed revenue.
On his part, the President, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Ayuba Wabba, said that with the poverty level in the country, Nigerians cannot afford to pay exploitative bill.
He also accused NERC of being soft on the discos despite the fact that they are exploiting Nigerians.
“On estimated billings, I must emphasise the fact that your organisation is essentially the regulatory office. In fact, recently I had to make a statement that it seems your agency is soft on the operators. That is why I had to write the minister and write all the security agencies when this issue of estimated billing, which I think is exploitative has continued unabated. I will give you two examples,
“An ambassador of a respected consulate here in Abuja just travelled on a leave; he has a metre, before he came back, the agency responsible came and said his metre is bad. They removed his meter, the subsequent month, he got an exploitative billing; he has to struggle and use lawyers for his metre to be returned back, it is Cuban Embassy, I will not hide it.
“Our organisation, NLC every month they were giving us about N650,000 and yet because it is an office and we only work within 8 a.m. and 5p.m, within those period, we don’t have light, when it is almost end of the month, when the bill will be distributed, they will give us light for five days. We demand for metres, that if you want us to pay we will pay, but that did not materialised, we have to go to court,
“When the legal department of the discos said it is our right to have metres, the commercial department said our revenue is going down.
They said we should settle out of court, and I said we are an organisation that has foot soldiers, we are going to seal all discos offices in Nigeria and we issued notices, including writing to your office, I wrote to the DSS, Inspector General of Police,” he explained.
Letter Unpatriotic, Says Yakassai
Yakassai who also reacted to the letter, described it as not only selfish but unpatriotic, ill-conceived and a clear invitation to national disaster.
Yakassai told a group of journalists in Kano yesterday that he did not see any hint of patriotism in Obasanjo’s letters.
“In fact, all the letters written by General Obasanjo to all military heads of state and presidents of the Federal Republic of Nigeria are not guided by patriotic considerations.
“My experience with the Nigerian political situation is that the top echelons of the military are always fighting one another, either when in the service or when on retirement.
“It is from this angle that I always view most of the writings of General Olusegun Obasanjo to any military officer who is a Head of State or president in Nigeria as unpatriotic. Even the ones he wrote to former Presidents Goodluck Jonathan and the late Umar Musa Yar’Adua were not patriotic. They were guided by selfish interest,” he said.
He added that there was nothing new in the latest letter the former president wrote to the president.