FG warns DisCos against forcing communities to buy transformers, cables

THE Federal Government has warned the Electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) operating in the country not to force any community to purchase electricity transformers, cables, and poles.

The Minister said it is the sole responsibility of the DisCos to provide such items.

Minister of Power, Adebayo Adelabu gave the warning on Monday, January 15, during his working visit to Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company, (IBEDC) in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.

He said, “There must be improvement in power supply. That is what the government planned to do. People should not pay for darkness. When people have a 24-hour power supply, they can pay double for electricity because you have saved them the money to power generators.

“We don’t want to hear the news of communities buying transformers, cables, and poles for themselves again. The federal government frowns at it. You see what we have done in Kaduna. Service to our people is paramount. It is the responsibility that Mr. President has placed on us. You are not number one, two, or three, you are struggling to be number four on the rating”, he stated

Conversely, this is not the first time the federal government has warned against customers or community purchases of electric transformers, cables, poles, and other accessories.

Despite this warning, electricity customers nationwide continue to buy transformers, poles, wires, meters, and even fund repairs of the transformers for electricity companies out of desperation.

The NERC’s Commissioner-in-charge of Consumers Affairs, Aisha Mahmud, while speaking during a three-day NERC/Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) Customer Complaint Resolution Meeting, said many consumers in Nigeria are unaware of their rights.

She said, “It is not the responsibility of the consumers to buy meters, poles, or any assets for the DisCos (distribution companies) because we have already provided for that in the tariff of the utilities.

“But under any circumstances that you have to purchase these items and you cannot wait for the DisCos to make that investment, we have made provision for that under our ‘investment regulation’,” Mahmud said.




     

     

    She, however, added that the commission came up with an “investment regulation” that specifies that if a customer has to purchase a transformer, it has to be done through an agreement.

    Aisha said, “The agreement should contain a dispute resolution clause and all other items that are expected of a standard agreement.

    “What we expect from the DisCo is to use their Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) to buy those assets or rather use shareholders’ investment or borrow from the banks to purchase those assets. If they are not able to buy those assets, customers can come in, and they have to be refunded.

    “So what the consumers don’t know is that regulation exists, and they go about making all sorts of investment which DisCos say is a donation to them because there is no agreement.’’

    Harrison Edeh is a journalist with the International Centre for Investigative Reporting, always determined to drive advocacy for good governance through holding public officials and businesses accountable.

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