Oscarline Onwuemenyi 01 March 2017, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The Abuja Electricity Distribution Company, AEDC, confirmed it disconnected the entire Sabon Gari Community, Mararaba, near Abuja, from the national grid, despite the warning by the power regulator, Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, against such mass disconnections.
AEDC said in a statement signed by its spokesman, Mr. Ahmed Shekarau, that the action became necessary because of huge debts owned by individual customers in the area, adding that the step was also taken for safety reasons.
Residents of the community on the outskirts of the Federal Capital Territory have noted that the disconnection, which lasted well over 10 days, started on January 31.
According to Shekarau, “Our Area Office in Mararaba carried out the disconnection, but the affected customers have since been reconnected.
“It was largely due to the safety of our staff, the affected customers and the equipment in the neighbourhood.”
Shekarau cited what he described as “an extreme case” of a pregnant staff whose life was threatened by customers resisting disconnection.
The AEDC’s action runs contrary to the Federal Government’s directive that distribution companies should not disconnect estates, communities and local governments over debts owed by individual customers.
Recall that on May 31, 2016, NERC warned Discos against blanket disconnection of communities, villages, local government areas and estates.
In a public announcement, the commission urged the Discos to be guided by its Connection and Disconnection Procedures for Electricity Services 2007 regulation.
Specifically, sections 5-6 of the regulation contain guidelines for the disconnection of only indebted customers and not an entire community.
The NERC said: “Electricity customers, who pay their bills, should not be disconnected via a mass disconnection of their community, a block of flats, estate, and so on.
“Any mass disconnection carried out by the Discos, in contravention of the provisions of the above regulation, is illegal and should be reported to the commission.”