Electricity consumers in the Southwest zone are planning to protest the failure by the power distribution companies (DisCos) to supply them with meters.
A group, Electricity Consumers Mega Forum (ECMF), said the association is relying on the protest to drive home its demand. Its spokesman, Kamorudeen Balogun said the association has notified its members in the Southwest region of the planned action.
He said the body has also, written the Ministry of Power, Director of State Security (DSS) and Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC) on the need for the protest, if the metering problems of its members are not resolved. IBEDC is in charge of power distribution in four states of Ogun, Oyo, Osun and Ondo states.
He said economic growth globally is driven by the power sector and that Nigeria cannot be an exception. According to him, irregular power supply in the country is affecting economic activities, noting that the issue has resulted in the collapse of many businesses.
He said the six geopolitical zones, including the Southwest, are experiencing poor power supply and other problems. “That is why we are calling on Ibadan DisCo to do the needful by providing meters to the residents of the four states it’s supervising. There is shortage of meters and inadequate power supply in the states resulting in loss of manpower and profit. For instance, Ogun State is badly affected by the development,” Balogun added.
According to him, residents of Ado-Odo in Ota Local Government of the state have suffered in the hands of IBEDC. This is evident by non-availability of meters and the subsequent payment of estimated bills by consumers.
“Many residents of Ogun State have suffered a lot in the hands of IBEDC as a result of poor supply of meters. Ado-Odo, Ota Local Government, reputed to be the largest local government in the state, has suffered greatly. Apart from epileptic power supply, many communities in the local government do not have prepaid meters. This made the residents to pay huge bills coupled with the fact that they are being extorted by officials of the firm,” he lamented.
He decried a situation the power firms import meters, adding that this had caused the product’s shortage. He urged the firms to patronise indigenous manufacturers of meters to meet customers’ demand.
MEMCOL Nigeria Limited Chairman, Mr. Kola Balogun, said local production of meters would help in meeting the needs of users of electricity.
Balogun, whose firm produces prepaid meters, said the inability of many DisCos to patronise local meter manufacturers had led to the meters’ shortage.
He said the decision by the Federal Government to put in place a home grown economy was a good, urging the it to implement policy. He said the idea would help in developing local manufacturers, stressing that meter manufacturers would benefit from it.
Efforts to get the IBEDC’s Head of Consumer, Mrs Remi Raji-Dawodu, to speak on the issue were abortive. Calls and text message forwarded to her were not acknowledged.
The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), in 2016, ordered power firms to meter their customers nationwide. Its Head of Consumer, Mr. Hardley Blue- Jack, said the Commission was not happy that many consumers do not have meters, urging DisCos to stop estimated billing by providing meters to their customers.
The former Minister of Power, Prof Barth Nnaji, also stated that the eleven energy distribution firms in the country would need $7.7billion investment to fix their assets in order to produce optimally.
Source: The Nation