Electricity consumers poised for showdown with distribution company



*As Company incurs N80b imbalance penalty

Oscarline Onwuemenyi

27 June 2015, Sweetcrude, Abuja – Electricity consumers are poised for a showdown with the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company, AEDC, over its plans to increase tariff.

Relying on a recent newspaper publication where the Disco placed a notice to that effect, the consumers said the firm had failed to provide efficient services and should therefore suspend any plans to increase tariff.

The consumers, under the umbrella Electricity Consumers Association of Nigeria, ECAN, have written the AEDC management asking it to address “customers dissatisfaction.”

A letter by National President of ECAN, Chijioke James, also accused the utility firm of failing to meter over 50 per cent of consumers.

The letter noted that, “After the emergency meeting of the Electricity Consumers Association of Nigeria (ECAN), ECAN wishes to register its objection to your intention to review tariffs upwards at this stage.”

It further noted that, “The constitution and the Electric Power Act 2005, which you relied on, gives a disco responsibilities to the consumers upon which they can rely to review tariffs as prescribed by relevant laws.

“Your persistent refusal to discharge your responsibilities to consumers within your jurisdiction makes it unjust, inequitable and impossible for you to rely on and or invoke the provisions of the law to take advantage of our consumers within your jurisdiction

“We wish to remind you that over 50 per cent of consumers within your jurisdiction are unmetered.”
ECAN further accused the Disco of collecting fixed charges and issuing estimated charges to consumers even when it had not provided the services.

The letter stressed that, “ECAN, by this response to your publication, notifies you of its intention to commence a class action should you insist on going ahead to increase tariff under the current circumstances.

“Particulars of infractions by you are already compiled and are awaiting your refusal to stay action without settling the issues herein raised,” it stated.

Meanwhile, the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) has said that it incurred N80 billion as imbalance penalty from November 2013 to date.

The Executive Director, Regulatory and Stakeholders’ Affairs, AEDC, Mr Abimbola Odubiyi, who revealed in Abuja, said the amount was for taking excess of the 11.5 per cent of energy allocated to it from the national grid to meet customers’ demand.

He stated that efforts by the company to serve its customers better had put it in huge financial difficulty.

“Because we have taken more power than the national allocation to serve our customers, we have incurred N80 billion in imbalance penalty. “Trying to serve our customers has put us in huge financial difficulty,’’ he said.

He said the company had better facilities compared to others in other parts of the country to take more power and distribute to consumers.

“Because the facility around us here is better than other parts of the country so we have the ability to take more power,’’ he said.

He said that whenever the generation to the national grid improved, the company would get more power to distribute to customers.

Odubiyi said that the company would continue to do its best to supply power to its teeming customers in the coverage arrears of Kogi, Nasarawa, Niger and FCT.
He stressed the need to improve on the country’s gas infrastructure to stablise the power supply.

The executive director stressed the need for strengthening of transmission lines across the country to be able to transmit energy generated from power stations across the country.

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  • Terry Nnanna

    Meter the customers. Is that so difficult? In-country meter manufacturers ae crying for patronage. Who is fooling who? Estimated bill are exploitative. It is only in Nigeria where the consumer has no rights. NERC, if they do not provide meters, there should not be allowed to get payment from consumers.