Friday, June 21, 2019 / 10:00AM
/ Bukola Akinyele for Proshare WebTV / Header Image Credit: WebTV
At the recent FCCPC Electricity Town Hall Meeting hosted in Ikeja Lagos to proffer solution to the challenges facing consumers on power supply in Nigeria.
Proshare’s WebTV interviewed the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Consumer Protection Council, Mr.Babatunde Irukera, to discuss approaches to fixing the challenges faced by electricity consumers.
According to him, the power sector in Nigeria is going through several levels of complexities, but the major concern is to ensure that consumers are treated fairly in the provision of electricity services.
Ikrukera outlines several issues that need addressing, which include;
Transparency in the Operations of Discos:
He pointed out the need for transparency in the operations of the distribution companies while urging customers to be disciplined and civil in their engagement with the companies. Irukera argues that companies need to begin to be more transparent in the way they do their business.
Irukera agrees that there is absolutely no reason people should pay for what they have not consumed. He noted the infrastructure challenge and poor customer relationship.
For the period over which estimated billing will subsist, he makes a case for rational, transparent, reasonable bills, and insist that there should be a linear connection between the bill estimate and actual usage. He argues that the arbitrariness in the billing must stop.
Discos Have To Be More Responsible
He believes that the next thing that needs to happen is that distribution companies need to be more responsible. They must work to recover their debt and hold the communities accountable for unpaid liabilities. He insists that Group Disconnection must stop.
The FCCPC DG asserted that the Discos must improve their operational efficiency and ensure that their equipment such as transformers is upgraded, to meet the demands of their customers. He castigated Disco officials for deceiving customers into spending money on replacing transformers and other equipment; a practice he says must stop.
“What I will call for is regulators coming together to meet with these companies and find ways to address the problems and penalize infractions appropriately. I believe a stick and carrot regime of regulation would prove effective. Ensuring good conduct in the power sector is not what the regulator can handle alone; it needs the support of other operators and consumers.” He further points out that, the “we are in a difficult situation in the sense that; we are trapped between a rock and a hard place. We cannot cancel licenses at this point, so we are condemned to work with what we have and nurture the process and people for improved performance.”
Enabling Environment for Competition in the Electricity Sector
For instance, we have a new law that says there should be healthy competition. What we have continued to do is to work on how to make each segment of the power value chain more competitive. We need to behaviour along the whole power loop.
Irukera tasks the Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company (IKEDC) to step up its game and ensure that regardless of the challenges, there is no excuse for people to pay for what they have not consumed.
The regulatory boss decried the use of armed policemen in community operations of Discos. The use of police officers to enforce their rights to payment without court orders, he says, is illegal. He insists that debt recovery should be approached in a manner that does not infringe upon the rights of consumers.