ABUJA Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) has responded to a report by the International Centre for Investigative Reporting (The ICIR) on consumer rip-off by the organisation through estimated billings and unrealistic tariff methods.
Spokesperson of the AEDC Bode Fadipe said this while speaking during a radio programme entltled, ‘Public Conscience,’ produced by the Progressive Impact Organization for Community Development (PRIMORG) in Abuja on Wednesday.
Fadipe said supplying meters to all new consumers was unworkable, given the circumstances of Nigeria’s power sector.
“The fact is that even if AEDC has all the meters that all customers require today, we cannot meter all of them today.
“Let us look at the practicality of the situation on the ground, if you say you are not connecting customers as they apply for connection and the customers go to connect themselves, where will the DisCos get the money to pay for the energy that has been consumed by the customer?” he asked.
He also noted that estimated billing was not illegal, adding that Distribution Companies (Discos) were not responsible for supplying meters as the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) had licensed companies to perform the task.
National Secretary of the Nigeria Electricity Consumers Advocacy Network (NECAN) Uket Ubonga, who was also present on the programme, agreed that estimated billing was not illegal, but noted that Discos were being fraudulent with the method of estimated billing.
“They can sit in their offices and write any amount and give to customers,” he said.
He also called for the sack of the NERC management, saying they were not functioning as regulators of the sector.
“The way forward is to restructure NERC, make NERC more functional, remove all the guys that are there, we tag the current NERC ‘a captured regulator,’ and until you get the right kind of people who are patriotic, who put national interests above self-interest, we will continue to be in this mess,” Obonga said.
The ICIR had reported that Discos ripped off energy consumers through estimated billing and fraudulent tariff band methodology.
The report, which was also published by Daily Trust, showed that Discos were flouting government policies on estimated billing and failing to supply consumers paying tariffs with commensurate energy.