Govt’s Silence On Consumers’ Exploitation
Sir: Who protects Nigerian electricity consumers? Definitely, not the government. Electricity consumers in Nigeria are groaning under the yoke of the power distribution companies (DISCOS). It is not just the recurring issue of erratic supply of electricity but paying heavily for the poor supply.
In some parts of the country, it is a clear case of paying for services never rendered. Eko Electricity Distribution Company (EKDC) deliberately stopped power supply to Itire and Ijeshatedo in Mushin and Surulere Local Council Areas of Lagos in mid-November, 2015. It was restored in the third week of this month, (January), after so much public outcry. Shockingly, it was accompanied with the usual crazy bills, covering November, December and January. Now, it is very obvious that the consumers are bearing the unmerited hardship without sympathy or support from relevant government agencies. Officials saddled with the protection of consumers’ rights are simply unconcerned. They are more concerned about their salaries and other welfare packages.
The same nonchalant attitude is also noticed in the law-making organ of the government. It has severally debated the shameful power supply and exploitation issue without making any meaningful impact. Recently, it condemned and even put on hold, the unjustified increase in electricity tariff. However, it will not amount to exaggeration, arguing that the lawmakers are sleeping and the tariff has been effected by the distribution companies.
The consumer exploitation challenge, no doubt, pre-dated the ruling government. But, it is imperative to emphasise that the promises “change” should not be limited to fighting high-level corruption cases. Therefore, government must quickly initiate and implement steps aimed at addressing persistent public outcry over Discos’ exploitation.