A human rights group, Africa Anti-Slavery Coalition (AASLAC) has called Nigerians to stop buying transformers for Electricity Distribution Companies (Discos) as its now emerging trends where they compelled customers.
In a statement issued by Comrade Tony Masha Convener, Africa Anti-Slavery Coalition in Lagos said as quoted that Nigerians are being subjected to all manner of exploitation by Electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) and they seemed to lack the collective capacity to resist these atrocities.
Comrade Masha, stated that recently residents of Bariga and its environs in Lagos State were ordered to buy the new transformer by Ikeja Electric Plc if they desire to consume the epileptic power supply in the area.
“Customers of Ikeja Electric Plc living at part of Ilaje road, Sanyaolu and Amodu Streets axis in Bariga were compelled recently to pay ₦40,000 per house to buy transformer.
“Thus, there is palpable apprehension among Bariga residents that technicians from Gbagada office of Ikeja Electric Plc will start full-scale tampering of transformers in the area in order to create opportunities to extort huge sums of money from residents to buy transformers,” he lamented.
According to AASLAC, the Nigerian Electric Regulatory Commission (NERC) prohibits community and customers from buying, replacing or repairing electricity transformers, poles and related equipment used in the supply of electricity because it is not their responsibility to do so.
“It regretted that electricity consumers under the Gbagada district of Ikeja Electric Plc were slammed with exorbitant and illegal estimated bills for power they do not consume.
“Although by the regulations of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, R2 customers which Bariga residents falls within are mandated to pay ₦1,892 per month pending when they will be provided with prepaid meters, yet, the Gbagada office of Ikeja Electric Plc, impose electricity consumers in the area with as much as ₦20,000, ₦24,000, and ₦30,000 estimated bills per month and any customer who dared to complain will be rudely told by its staff to go to Oyingbo to buy prepaid meter if he or she so desires,” the group added.
The group added that “even though the NERC rules state clearly that customers should be given 10 working days from the date electricity bills are delivered to pay, experience has shown that once electricity bills are sent to customers in Bariga say on Monday, the following day, Tuesday, the staff of Ikeja Electric Plc, Gbagada would storm the area with their ladders to start exhorting money from residents and anyone who is not at home or is unwilling to“settle” them would have his or her electricity wire removed by heady, saucy, and uncultured staff of the company who have no elementary knowledge of how to treat customers with courtesy.
“Besides, the NERC equally enjoins customers of the DisCos who are disputing bloated estimated electricity bills to continue to pay the last bill that was not in dispute until the dispute is resolved, but since the Commission appears incapable of enforcing its rules and regulations, the DisCos have continued to engage in impunity.
“This is precisely because the DisCos and other companies in the electricity industry are owned by politicians who shared electricity plants, the collective wealth of Nigerians, among themselves in 2013 and as such no Agency of Government can call them to order,” the group emphasized.
It recalled that between 2015-2018, the Federal Government doled out ₦1.12 trillion as subsidy to operators of electricity sector, the same “portfolio investors” that are ripping off Nigerians through exorbitant estimated bills for electricity they do not consume.
“Beyond all that, investigation shows that these greedy and insatiable owners of DisCos give their staff targets of hundreds of millions of naira they want per month.
“And in order to meet these targets, the staff of the DisCos are unleashed onto the streets to be sending arbitrary over-bloated estimated bills to customers and anybody who shows any sign of resistance will have his or her electricity supply cut-off,” the group lamented.
It emphasized that since the Government was part of the scam to fleece Nigerians of their hard-earned money through all manner of direct and indirect taxation, the citizen must unite to free themselves from the yoke of oppression.