The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL) hereby warns the Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE) against extending the operating licences of nine electricity distribution companies across the country.
We are opposed to the renewal of the operating licences of the DISCOs because of the grand extortion they have perpetrated against the people across the country. Indeed, there is no gainsaying the fact that Nigerians are already exasperated with the activities of these DISCOs.
Lagos State which consumes roughly half of the power generated in Nigeria is the worst hit in this unprecedented national scam. In most parts of the Lagos metropolis, the story is the same; electricity supply is very poor, yet consumers are extorted by Eko and Ikeja Electricity Distribution companies-the two DISCOs that hold sway in the nation’s commercial capital.
It is also pertinent to mention that DISCOS across the country routinely engage in illegal disconnection of consumers from the national grid. In most cases, such disconnected customers have to pay bribes to the DISCO officials before power is restored to them. This is a clear violation of Section 5 (1f) of the Electric Power Sector Reform Act of 2005.
For the avoidance of doubt the section reads: “A Distribution company may only disconnect supply to a customer’s address when the customer has not paid the amount correctly billed for that supply address by the relevant date, provided the Distribution Company has given the customer a written warning that electricity supply shall be disconnected if payment is not made by the payment date and the warning contains (1) the date of delivery to the supply address or any other address provided by the
customer and (2) a telephone number and or address acceptable to the Distribution company where the customer can request assistance for paying the outstanding bill”
Our observation is that the nation’s policy-makers seem to have forgotten that the primary
purpose of government is to ensure that the security and welfare of the people are protected at all times. The relevant government officials don’t seem to have made the effort to adequately assess the current electricity situation because they have not asked themselves several basic questions about privatization of the power sector.
The questions are: “Will the shoddy privatization of the power sector stand the test of time? Will it work? And will the present core investors (who neither have the knowledge of the electricity business nor the financial muscle) make it work?” “Why has nothing been done to improve power supply since the power sector reforms were made apart from jacking up the tariff through crazy bills?”