The apprehension was high! The accepted acceptance was that as anon as the state-owned electricity breeding and administration company, the Civic Electric Ability Authority, bigger accepted by its acronym, NEPA, was awash to clandestine individuals, the country would alpha experiencing ceaseless ability supply.
Not alone that, but the bodies additionally hoped that the convenance of sending “crazy” bills to barter or estimated billing, that is the convenance of announcement barter afterwards metres, would be a affair of the past.
But six years afterwards privatization, aback the Civic Electric Ability Ascendancy afflicted to the Ability Holding Aggregation of Nigeria, PHCN, how accept the consumers fared?
Long afore the electricity assets in Nigeria were privatized, barter addled deals with agents accepted as marketers, to pay beneath than the aggregate answerable by the Nigerian Electricity Ability Ascendancy (NEPA). Actuality a government-owned bureau aloof in accumulation making, such excesses went unnoticed.
In 2013, PHCN’s assets were burst into six bearing companies, a manual aggregation retained by the government and 11 administration companies— Discos.
The apprehension was that, old things would canyon abroad and that the escapade of the past, would go with the old ways.
It angry out to be a aqueduct dream.
The Discos kept up with the old convenance and bootless to enumerate its barter to accredit it bill them according to their consumption.
Ismail Aromire, son of the acceptable adjudicator of Ijora association said the Eko Electricity Administration Company, showed no absorption in adventure analysis of its chump abject in Ijora Oloye until it was pressurized to do so by the community. He says he took that action to accompany bottomward the appraisal on the bills answerable anniversary collapsed in Ijora Oloye. That appraisal appear a accepted secret: abounding houses were not registered as barter on the company’s database.
“Everybody was like we’re accepting crazy bills- the bill is too much, some didn’t alike accept before- like new structures. As the Eko Disco admiral beatific to adviser electricity in the breadth are replaced afterwards anniversary quarter, they aloof admonish themselves, ‘please don’t bother creating bill. We will be accession the money with our duke to go and pay on their behalf’ and it goes into their pocket
“It was aback we insisted on this archive that these irregularities were discovered,” he disclosed.
What was added disturbing, however, was how the Eko DISCO chose to break the problem.
“When they [Eko DISCO] were accomplishing the enumeration, they now said those that don’t accept bill that they had been advantageous money illegally to some individuals that they should go and pay accident of revenue, so that they can use it to actualize bills for them.”
Some added bill samples from Ijora area
They were answerable N5,000 for accident of revenue.
“We requested for the list- the streets and numbers of those who got ‘LOR’ so that we can apperceive who and who is who. They did not accord us. Instead of giving LOR of N5000 each, they abutting bristles to six houses calm and gave them a LOR in one person’s name.” This is one acumen why administration companies ability be clumsy to accumulated 100 percent of the electricity delivered to customers.
Aromire added abreast us that some bodies had been declared capital on annual of the Accident of Revenue. Bristles years afterwards the DISCOS took over PHCN’s administration assets, is it still accessible to bamboozle the arrangement or is the Ijora adventure an abandoned one?
Igando and Egbeda are two communities in the Alimosho bounded government of Lagos State. Abounding in these communities accept not accustomed prepaid meters and they are fed up with advantageous estimated bills. Some landlords have, however, devised a agency of acid bottomward on their electrical expenses. A citizen in the association who batten to us on the action of anonymity describes how it is done:
“There are few prepaid meters in this area. Best of the houses use analog meters. So what they do is to get an abettor of the administration company- Ikeja Electricity administration aggregation to run 30 percent of their ablaze on the beat and the absolute 70 percent anon to the transformer.
“Since the Disco guys can see the beat account in their office, they will not bound to analysis if the landlords are cheating or not.”
I absitively to appendage one of these rogue agents to see if a accord could be absolutely struck.
Seun had aloof helped one of his audience in Egbeda to acclimatize her affiliation a fortnight back; the applicant was absolved the alarm of analysis suffered by bristles landlords in the adjacent Igando. They were hoodwinked by admiral from the Ikeja Electricity Administration Company, IKEDC, on a accepted inspection.
We activate our attack to adviser Seun by advantageous a appointment to his chump in Egbeda. To abstain any suspicion, my aide fabricated an anterior alarm to him with the woman’s phone.
For N25, 000, Seun agreed to apprehend the beat at an agreed location. He said we should endeavor to pay our aftermost two bills fully, again he would be able to booty over. He would additionally allegation N10, 000 for alternate inspections to ensure the affiliation is not detected. Crooked admission like these, accept formed alluvium on the clue of the crumbling Nigerian Electricity Supplying Industry.
The authoritative ascendancy was no beneath afraid about these animal developments.
In December 2017, The Nigerian Electricity Authoritative Company, NERC issued a allegation titled: “Order on crooked access, beat tampering, and by-pass adjustment no: NERC/REG/41/2017.” The annular assigned a accomplished of N50, 000 for any citizen with a distinct appearance beat who assets actionable admission to electricity.
“Any distinct appearance residential chump that assets crooked admission to electricity by analytical or accent bypass shall be reconnected aloft acquittal of the reconnection costs of N50, 000.00 antecedent and 75,000.00 for consecutive incidents,” the annular directed.
Residential barter who use three-phase meters will pay 100 percent college than distinct appearance barter if caught.
“For three appearance residential customers, violators of this adjustment are accepted to pay N100, 000.00 for the antecedent adventure and a accomplished of N150, 000.00 for consecutive incidents,” the adjustment said.
For best appeal customers, the adjustment directs the Discos to allegation 350 percent of their aftermost account account afore reconnection and 450 percent for consecutive breaches.
“The antecedent adventure of crooked admission to electricity by analytical or bypassing a Best Demand, MD beat shall allure a reconnection amount of 300% of the aftermost accustomed recorded account burning of the customer. Consecutive incidents of crooked admission to electricity by analytical or bypassing an MD beat shall allure a reconnection amount of 450% of the aftermost accustomed recorded account burning of the customer.”
The regulators are not annoyed with acclimation the administration companies to appoint penalties; they appetite to be able to defended bastille agreement for offenders as well. That absorbed was fabricated accepted in a bill beatific to the Civic Assembly on 12 December 2018.
NERC hopes to alter the article to apprehend that: “Any actuality who foolishly taps, makes or causes to be fabricated any affiliation with overhead, underground or underwater curve or cables, or account wires, or account accessories of a licensee; or (c ) amercement or destroys an electric meter, apparatus, equipment, wire or aqueduct or causes or allows any of them to be so damaged or destroyed as to baffle with the able or authentic metering of electricity shall be accusable of an answerability amiss with agreement of imprisonment for a aeon of not beneath than six months and not added than two years or a accomplished of N100,000 or both.”
Durosinmi-Etti runs a auberge on Odofin Street, Ijora; he uses a best appeal meter. He is one of those barter that are hardly tempted to use backdoor agency to abate the bill he receives monthly.
“Now, if they accompany 150,000 I will pay N100, 000”, Durosinmi-Etti said in anger.
His auberge has three floors and his bills badly soared from N100, 000 to N200, 000. The agent man who broken his cafeteria to appear to us, says actuality a active chump brings him no gain:
“The money I’m attributable now is activity up to N268, 000; the adjustment they are application now is that, if they accord you N150, 000 and you pay N100, 000, afore the end of the ages they will abstract your light. I fought them and said I don’t appetite to see any PHCN official. They begged me and said I should pay N100, 000 out of the money and they would acquisition a solution.”
Friday Ikewere is the Administration Manager of ENCON International Ltd. The aggregation leases its offices out to altered businesses. He says electricity accuse are accustomed to the barter on a per attic aboveboard beat base every year. That announcement arrangement is abased on the aggregation accepting electricity allegation for Eko Electricity Administration Company.
When we met in October, article befuddled the foundation of that announcement method:
“The money we answerable them was based on the actuality that over the years, the bill fluctuates amid N50, 000 80, 000 to 100, 000,” Friday explains as the bill is presented to him.
“It has remained like that from aftermost year alike till May June. This month, it is N205, 000 I don’t understand.”
Ikewere is at a accident as to what he would acquaint his tenants who had paid their electricity accuse at the alpha of the year. He says they will buck the burden of the access and add it to the allegation on their control in 2019.
Like Durosinmi-Etti, ENCON is a best appeal customer. They are answerable at a anchored rate, college than barter beneath the residential allocation system. These are the chic of best appeal customers: Table.pdf
Encon Ltd and Jan Lodge and Suites will best acceptable abatement beneath the C2 category. These barter are advantaged to a agent of their own and were not to be on estimated announcement as from June 2017.
However, Durosinmi-Etti says he was not accustomed a transformer.
Ikewere says admiral from Eko DISCO capital to change the firm’s beat beneath the guise that it was not account properly. Aback we arrested aback with Ikewere, he said the bill for October was N189, 000 and that of November was N50, 000.
“For September they gave us a bill of N205, 000; we challenged it and they said that it was declared to be our absolute consumption. We wrote a letter and in October they brought it bottomward to N189, 000. In November, they brought it bottomward to N50, 000, what we acclimated to pay before.
“Right now, they broken the ablaze because we banned to pay the N189, 000 in October.”
Maximum appeal metres are apprehend manually and billed postpaid, they are artlessly at the benevolence of what the discos say.
What NERC Annual after-effects Say
In the third division of 2018, the administration companies got an balance of N147 billion but paid alone N44 billion to the Nigerian Aggregate Electricity Trading Aggregation (NBET). That larboard a arrears of N103 billion in the bazaar for that quarter. In the fourth quarter, however, the DISCOS accustomed an balance of N166 billion from NBET for activity purchased and Bazaar Abettor for account charge. The DISCOS, however, paid aloof N40.1 billion. In the third quarter, the DISCOS issued bills account N151 billion, while it answerable N161.8 in q4. The DISCOS calm an boilerplate of 90.4 billion or 55 percent of its bills in q3 and 101.2 billion or 62.5 per cent of its bills in q4. In q3, the Discos captivated on to N46.4 billion; it withheld 61.1 billion in the above-mentioned quarter. What is surprising, however, is that the administration companies billed beneath than what they were answerable for in q4.
Electricity Chump Survey
After four years, the aftermost two abode of 2017 still adumbrated that the industry was not affair up with its acquirement obligations. Could the accord amid the electricity users affiliated to the civic filigree and relying on account from administration companies be a attribute of the banking bloom of the industry? We agitated out a analysis and asked these questions:
Do you accept prepaid meters?
Do you accept a excess of bills?
Do you pay your bills through third parties?
Has your administration aggregation appear to acquisition out how abundant ability you absorb and how abundant you can be billed?
We sampled the assessment of barter in two communities and six streets aural Lagos state.
In Oshodi/Isolo Bounded Council Development Area, (LCDA), we accustomed responses from 50 respondents in Adewale Adenuga, Joseph and Goloba Ashogbon streets. Out of the 50 bodies interviewed, alone one alone had a prepaid meter, 32 of them had backlogs, aloof one alone accepted to advantageous through channels added than the DISCO’s aperture and 23 accept at some point accustomed DISCO admiral on archive visits.
In the Egbeda breadth of Alimosho LGA, we accustomed responses from 40 persons. Eight of them said they accept prepaid meters, 13 of them say they are abaft on their bill payment, 23 of them say they pay through third parties, (banks) and 37 said admiral of the agnate administration aggregation accept appear to analysis on their electricity consumption.
What NERC annual after-effects Say
The aboriginal division of 2018 was added absolute than the aftermost three months of 2017. The Discos answerable barter N171.1 billion and calm N106 billion- 62.3 percent of the figure- 0.2 percent beneath than q4 2017. NBET and the bazaar abettor beatific out an accumulated balance of N163.1 billion and the DISCOS paid N51.2 billion- 31.4 percent. The Discos captivated on to N55.4 billion for assorted purposes and acquired addition arrears of N112 billion. There was some apparent advance in the latest annual aftereffect appear by NERC. It billed N173.7 billion and calm N111.5 billion or 64.2 percent. The aggregate banker and the Bazaar Abettor beatific an balance of N161.4 billion to the discos and they remitted an added 33.3 percent- N53.7 billion. The Discos captivated on to N58.7 billion and added N107.7 billion to the illiquidity of the industry.
In the four annual after-effects appear by NERC, it said;
“The above contributors to the banking crisis in the industry are assessment deficits, aerial abstruse and bartering losses affronted by consumers’ aloofness arising from estimated announcement and poor affection of accumulation in best amount centres.” In its defence, the regulator formed out the Accent Asset Provider adjustment on April 3, 2018. James Momoh, Chairman of the authoritative commission, said at a appointment amid the beat providers and their absolute clients-the Discos, that anybody who wants ability in Nigeria will accept a accent afore 2020. This, however, does not abode the claiming of a amount cogitating tariff.
The Excuse of the administration companies
The DISCOS accept consistently maintained at assorted forums through the Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors (ANED), that the low amount of electricity in the country has fabricated it absurd for the DISCOS to carryout asset upgrades and metering. While the NERC has maintained that the DISCOS authority on to a ample allotment of the funds meant for the industry, the DISCOS accept argued that they cannot use all the bare acquirement they get to achieve invoices from the Bazaar Abettor (MO)- an arm of the Manual Aggregation of Nigeria (TCN) and NBET. According to them, salaries and added operational costs charge to be looked into as well.
Sahara Reporters accomplished out to Godwin Idemudia, Head of Corporate Communications at Eko Electricity Administration Aggregation (EKEDC), to get the company’s angle on some of the specific issues. Reacting to barter in Ijora Oloye accepting one LOR per bristles customers, he said:
“I accept not apparent the abstracts so I can’t say. But if anyone in the association has a botheration they can go to the business assemblage beneath the Ijora bridge. What I apperceive is we usually affair one LOR per chump And it is to say the chump should pay for what they accept been arresting and not advantageous for. If the chump has a altercation with w=the Lor, they can consistently booty it to be adjusted. Ismail Aromire- the acceptable ruler’s son, had said aback SaharaReporters went to the association that the affair had a=escalated and some admiral were wanted. Idemudia, however, maintained that he had not heard of the happening.
Reacting to the allegation that Best Appeal Barter were billed unilaterally- adverse to NERC orders, Idemudia said:
“Maximum Appeal barter are our better customers. Aback we are activity to apprehend their meter, we consistently accomplish abiding one actuality from our abutting base and an official of the business comes along. Aback the ascertainment on Campbell artery was put to him, Idemudia said:
“When there is an access in in the hours of electricity received, you would apprehend the burning to rise.” ‘Even if burning has been connected throughout the year and changes in alone ‘two months?’ the anchorman interrupted.
“When these barter appear to our office, they see that we billed them accordingly. And they go aback okay,” he replied. He added that the aggregation has the ‘I’ (Artificial Intelligence) technology to adviser the electricity burning of the consumers. He additionally acclaimed that about 80 percent of its over 500,000 barter accept been metered. Idemudia appear that EKEDC would accept delivered 170,000 meters to electricity consumers aural its network.
Kelechukwu Ogu is a Journalist, Researcher and Advocate For Social Change.
Email @ [email protected]
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