The Consumer Protection Council (CPC) has directed the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) to pay the family of a boy that was electrocuted in Abuja a N10 million compensation.
The CPC said that the action was due to the AEDC’s technical lapses and gross negligence.
This is contained in a statement signed and released by the Head of Public Relations of CPC, Mr Abiodun Obimuyiwa, on Sunday in Abuja.
The statement said that the directive was issued following a complaint filed by Mr Tade Ayodele.
Ayodele claimed a live electricity power cable fell from an elelctric pole at the old Panteker Area of Kabusa, Abuja, on Monday, Nov. 9, 2015, causing the electrocution and subsequent death of his son, Samuel Ayodele.
Ayodele said his son slipped and fell on the live electricity cable which led to his electrocution and death on the said date.
According to the statement, AEDC, when confronted, dissociated itself from the unfortunate incident through a letter dated Dec. 7, 2015.
The statement said that the company claimed that the electricity distribution network in the community, where the deceased lived, was a substandard self-help project.
“AEDC or its authorised agents should not be held responsible for any incident arising from the substandard project.
“Also, the illegal substandard installations were merely tolerated to some extent due to the exigencies of the electricity industry,’’ the AEDC said in the statement.
The statement said that the CPC visited the site, conducted on-the -spot interviews with residents of the community and sought the technical opinion of the Nigerian Electricity Management Services Agency (NEMSA).
NEMSA was set up by the Federal Government to carry out testing and certification of electrical installations, electricity meters, instruments and commercial services on key critical areas of Nigerian electricity supply industry, it said.
According to the CPC, the technical opinion of NEMSA concluded that the accident occurred as a result of weak or bad low tension network and technical lapses on the part of AEDC, it said.
The statement quoted NEMSA as saying that AEDC allowed such a substandard installation in their network and did not respond promptly to the snap conductor after it was reported to it.
CPC, therefore, concluded that the outcome of all its investigations could not substantiate the disclaimer of the AEDC as contained in the company’s letter of Dec. 7, 2015, it said.
The Council, in reaching this conclusion, agreed with and relied on the expert’s opinion of NEMSA, the sector regulator on quality and electricity materials, the statement said.
CPC said it also found AEDC liable for incorporating “this self-help project’’ into its billing system, it said.
CPC explained that AEDC collected payment from the community while failing, refusing and neglecting to disconnect the purported illegal substandard installations, it said.
The statement said that CPC had, consequently, ordered the AEDC Plc to “pay the sum of N10 million to the complainant as compensation for the death of his son, Samuel Ayodele.
“AEDC has been served with the order, and must comply and revert to the Council on or before the 30th day of April, 2016.
“The order has also been communicated to the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), who, at all times, was notified of the various steps taken by CPC,’’ it said.
In the statement, CPC’s Director-General, Mrs Dupe Atoki, said that the order would deter other businesses that provide services from being negligent.
She, in the statement, reiterated that in line with extant regulations and international best practices, Nigerian consumers would continue to be protected from all manner of consumer abuses.
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