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RUNNING ECONOMY ON LAWLESS POWER | November 2015

 

Residents under Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company were provoked by the electricity bills they got at the end of July. For irregular power supply, they were asked to pay more than double the usual amounts they pay per month. Youths in the streets mobilized, marched to the off Oba Akran Avenue office of the power distribution unit and dumped the “crazy bills” at the premises, littering the compound with hundreds of bills flying about in the wind.

They insisted the PHCN must supply pre-paid meters to the area to resolve the faceoff. In Ijesha area of Surulere Lagos, residents are warming up for a class action against the PHCN, they also want the pre-paid meters for billings on their energy consumptions.

Some customers are issued electricity bills on guestimates of assumed energy consumed in a month, another set of customers get billed on energy consumed as recorded by the post-paid meters. While these two sets of customers complain unjustifiable bills slammed on them every month, the third set of customers, with pre-paid meters, determine how much electricity they wish to use for the month based on the energy purchased.

In the midst of these woes, the electricity distribution companies are ready to raise the tariff this month. Approval of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission and the federal government, going by the public utterances of the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, SAN are given.

 

However, a University of Lagos scholar and expert on electricity law, Yemi Oke, says the electricity distribution companies would be breaking the law should they raise tariffs without first issuing the pre-paid meters to customers and provide a cushion for the poor to enjoy electricity, see interview. Business Eye confirms the electricity distribution companies, enjoying monopoly status, observe the law in breach at the expense of hapless Nigerians.

Barth Nnaji, a former Federal Minister of Power, in charge of national electricity issues and renowned international professor on power now turned electricity entrepreneur was a key player and policy maker in the new power regime operative in the country. The egg head is burning his fingers in attempt to run an electricity company in Aba, Nigeria’s famed technology base.

He sunk $500million, N98.25billion into the venture to service 200,000 connected customers, estimated to be about two million people, in industrial, commercial, residential and rural settings and has been embroiled in a tango with another company over operational rights. Nnaji’s statement to Business Eye on the imbroglio sums up the narrative begging for change in business Nigeria “If the federal government sees respecting agreements as gifts to the investors, then it will be impossible to attract the right investors.”

 


 

 

       
       
       
 

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