Amidst protests and threats, the power distribution companies in Nigeria (DISCOs) have insisted that a nation-wide mass disconnection of high-debt electricity consumers must take effect on or before the end of August 2017, reports Ripples Nigeria.
The measure, according to the companies is aimed at recovering over N200 billion cumulative debts, owed them since 2013 when the former PHCN was unbundled and its assets and liabilities bought over by 13 privately owned firms.
But if the agreement entered into by the tripartite bodies: Bureau for Public Enterprise (BPE) the regulatory agency NERC and legal teams of the successful investors is anything to go by, they may be courting trouble from the consumers.
It would be recalled that part of the agreement was that two years of grace would by enjoyed by the distribution outfits, after which they should provide all consumers, having analogue meters with pre-paid types.
However, four years after, this is yet to be implemented with reports stating that less than 10 per cent of projected 100 million electricity consumes in Nigeria have pre-paid meters.
But the spokesman of the Association of Distribution Companies in Nigeria (ADCN), Henrietta Anosike said the companies had overstretching their limited resources to ensure that improved electricity is delivered.
“Our case is not made easier by the fact that over N60 billion unpaid arears of bills are still hanging on the neck of government agencies and departments.
“The public seems not to understand what the DISCOs are passing through, while some of them hide under the guise of not having pre-paid meters to dugde bill payment, and the question is, even with or without meters are they not using light?”
On allegation of estimated bill being manipulated, she said each transformer serving a street or community is having its meter, which guides field officers to determine the volume of electricity dispensed and the cost per unit of power.
But most consumers in Lagos and adjourning states, who claimed that their areas had already suffered from the mass disconnect policy have threatened heading to court to challenge the EKO Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC) and the Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company (IEDC).
Mr. Dan Onuoha, a spokesman of Oke-Afa Community, Lagos said the, IEDC service centre had already disconnected the entire residents, irrespective of those without arrears of bills.
“We as consumers are mobilising to resist this injustice. For instance, for more than six months, we have never had light, except a flash of light between 2am to 4 am.
“But each flat here has been handed a bill of N20,000 to settle before the transformer is to be reconnected.”
One of the business managers of the Ikeja-based company, on anonymity, said there is no going back on any area that has been disconnected until they pay at least 50 per cent of their bills.