POWER PANDEMIC: THE DISCOs ARE FRAUDULENT
The age-long public outcry for an improved energy in Nigeria for homes and business which gathered momentum in the wake of the unbundling of the Nigerian power sector by the Federal govt.has substantiated the glaring reality that Nigeria is dwelling under a serious power pandemic,a plague which had threatened comfort progress and development and thrown a clog of limitation on the paths of businesses.
There is no gainsaying that the Nigerian Power sector became jaundiced due to poor management by the state,a situation which forced the administration of president Muhammed Buhari to outrightly place generation and distribution in the hands of private investors,the move was to enhance electricity supply the use of Nigerians domestically and industrially.
But sad enough,the same situations which led to the privation still stare Nigerians in the face,confronting their affairs and businesses,so much so that they remember the sad exit of great companies such as Dunlop,from Nigeria,due to the inability of the country to achieve stability in the power sector.
When the DISCOs came,Nigerians felt that the end of power epilepsy had come.
The global expectation was that the management of the power sector had gone to the hands of capable and reliable private sector that will cause the flourishing of the comatose realm.
But Nigerians were proved wrong years into the privatisation when the never-ending negative indices remained outstanding despite the high expectation of Nigerians.
It was that worrisome that many a Nigerian felt that the privatisation process was shaddy,and that the unbundling by government was a charade that still left the soul of Nigeria’s power industry secretly in the hands of some Nigerian capitalists whose only care was profit,not development.
These worries became manifest with the current trend where DISCOs agonisingly short-exchange Nigerians without any palpable explanation,or even readiness to profer a panacea.
Everywhere you go,from Lagos to Abuja,and from Abuja to areas in the north,back to the southern and easthern climes,the outary is analogous,and the recent consumer outburst especially under the Ikeja and Eko Electricity Distribution companies is so fear-evoking that everyone is clamouring for something new from the current arrangement.
From a sharing formulae that is exploitative,delusive and confusing at the same time,to a billing process that is criminal cum extortionary in dimension,the modus operandi of the DISCOs are fraudulent and remains a deliberate methology of sustaining the old odd statusquo.
How else could or should Nigerians view a situation whereby Nigeria neighborhoods buy power transformers,cables,transformer oils for the so-called-power-firms who will only pay them back with power outage due to their killing inadequacies and inefficiency?
The various Community Development Associations (CDAs) in different parts of Lagos have become adjuncts of the ailing power authorities. The leaders or chairmen of these associations have become tools for the extortion or fraud business of the DISCOs.
They are used to force money out of residents to buy equipment for Ikeja Electric,Eko Electric and their Counterparts.
The process is very draconian. The CDA leaders usually would place huge levies on the residents to service these companies,and whoever fails to pay will face the disgrace and pain of permanent disconnection from the grid.
These experiences can be ascertained from poor disenfranchised consumers who hardly get full 10 days electricity supply in each month,despite their contributions.
Once the Community Development Committees who regulate the CDAs in Alimosho area of Lagos State,demanded the oppressive Ikeja Electric to come disconnect the massive area from the grid in order to end their campaign of fraud.
But, just like it happens here,the ‘power managers’ found a way around that ultimatum and continued their management against the people.
On several occasions,the people have petitioned,protested and confronted the officials of these companies to no avail,and they are only angling for the next, perhaps violent action.
It is commonplace that sometimes,the operatives of the power companies resort to police and military ways to keep their unjust methods affloat.
Even the directives of the minister of power;the Federal govt,on estimated billing and the need to fix prepaid meters have met the deaf ears of these firms,who continue to roam and roar intimidatingly.
The way out is a total review of the privatisation documents/process that brought these companies into being,as being clamoured by the legislators and indeed well meaning Nigerians.
This redemptive process is essential to prevent chaos and economic stagnancy,even retrogression. It is also significantly exigent to save Nigerians from the current power pandemic that creates discomfort and cripples businesses.