It was not surprising when Babatunde Fashola, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing and Mr. Dafe Akpeneye, a Commissioner in the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) opposed the bill that criminalizes estimated billing at the public hearing at the National Assembly on June 5, 2018. It is understandable that the Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributor (ANED) opposed the bill for selfish reasons, but Fashola and Mr. Dafe have shown clearly that the federal government is in an unholy alliance with the Distribution Companies to continue the robbery of electricity consumers through fraudulent estimated billing. The capitalist state that claims to be the regulator is obviously partisan and biased against the working masses because of their class interest towards profiteering.
The federal government through Fashola and NERC as well as ANED brazenly threatened Nigerians in their submissions. Babatunde Fashola claimed that criminalizing the estimated billing would destroy the entire power sector; Dr. Dafe Akpeneye claimed that 50% of electricity consumers would be disconnected; ANED said that the Distribution Companies (DISCOs) would disconnect consumers who had no meters in a bid to escape punishment over estimated billing. These responses are an indication of a possible reaction from the government and the Distribution companies who will stop at nothing to undermine and sabotage any process aimed at reducing the undue exploitation and extortion of electricity consumers. Is it not an insult for the DISCOs/ANED to threaten to disconnect unmetered consumers when it got over N200 billion of public funds as bailout and failed to remit a single kobo to public coffers considering the fact that the public has at least 40% interest in the power companies? The same power companies are owing government (the public) a whooping N500billion. Seecrazypaydayloans bad credit help portal
It also shows where the loyalty of our elected representatives’ lie and the enormous power and influence DISCOs now wield over the Ministry of power and NERC thus undermining their ability to carry out its oversight functions on the sector. Otherwise NERC and the Ministry of power are the recognized entities administering the power sector. They have enormous powers to regulate up to the point of sanctioning and disengaging any DISCO which violates the law or shortchanges Nigerians. Indeed going by the contract for the privatization of the power sector, all DISCOS were meant to have facilitated the metering of all electricity within 18 months failing which they would be sanctioned. That this has not being done without consequence and that a bill meant to begin to take the DISCOs to account over their mindless extortion of electricity consumers is being opposed by the Minister of Power and NERC is a testament to the creeping domination and takeover of the government by private interest. In the eventuality that the bill is passed, the Coalition for Affordable and Regular Electricity (CARE) in collaboration with other pro-people organisations will mobilise Nigerian electricity consumers to resist any illegal disconnection of unmetered consumers and hike in tariff. Find out more about Leaking Taps, Repair Dripping Taps, Tapware Installation
In responding to the threat and possible sabotage, CARE calls on other pro-people organisations, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC), United Labour Congress (ULC) Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN), Community Development Associations (CDAs), Joint Action Front (JAF) to join forces to resist the continued unjust billing of electricity consumers based on estimation, struggle for issuance of prepaid meters to all and for uninterrupted/affordable electricity to all Nigerians. This is possible when privatization is reversed, massive investment in the power sector and democratic planning of resources to meet the electricity needs of all.
Placing electricity, which is one of the major sector of the economy in the hands of the private companies is a violation of Chapter 2 (Section 16) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) that mandates the major sectors of the economy to be publicly owned to avoid undermining of public interest and to shun concentration of too much wealth or the major means of production and exchange in the hands of few people. CARE demands that the power sector should be renationalised and placed under democratic control and management of workers and consumers in order to forestall corrupt practices and inefficiency. For help with online gaming check out keep your winnings no deposit
Chinedu Bosah Monsuru Shoyombo