No Community Should Be Forced To Buy Transformers, Others -FG

The Federal Government has warned the Electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) operating in the country not to force any community to purchase electricity transformers, cables, and poles, as it is the sole responsibility of the DisCos to provide such items.

Minister of Power, Chief Adebayo Adelabu gave the warning on Monday during his working visit to Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company, (IBEDC) in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.

He said, “There must be improvement in power supply. That is what the government planned to do. People should not pay for darkness. When people have a 24-hour power supply, they can pay double for electricity because you have saved them the money to power generators.

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“We don’t want to hear the news of communities buying transformers, cables, and poles for themselves again. The federal government frowns at it. You see what we have done in Kaduna. Service to our people is paramount. It is the responsibility that Mr. President has placed on us. You are not number one, two, or three, you are struggling to be number four on the rating”, he stated

However, this is not the first time the federal government has warned against customers or community purchases of electric transformers, cables, poles, and other accessories.

The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) had on different occasions warned that it is the responsibility of the DisCos to provide meters, transformers, poles, wires, and other accessories needed for electricity supply to consumers.

Despite this warning, electricity customers across the country continue to buy transformers, poles, wires, meters, and even fund repairs of the transformers for electricity companies out of desperation.

NERC’s Commissioner-in-charge of Consumers Affairs, Aisha Mahmud, while speaking during a three-day NERC/Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) Customer Complaint Resolution Meeting, said a lot of consumers in Nigeria are not aware of their rights.

She said, “It is not the responsibility of the consumers to buy meters, poles, or any assets for the DisCos (distribution companies) because we have already provided for that in the tariff of the utilities.

“But under any circumstances that you have to purchase these items and you cannot wait for the DisCos to make that investment, we have made provision for that under our ‘investment regulation’,” Mahmud said.

She, however, added that the commission came up with an “investment regulation” that specifies that if a customer has to purchase a transformer, it has to be done through an agreement.

Aisha said, “The agreement should contain a dispute resolution clause and all other items that are expected of a standard agreement.

“What we expect from the DisCo is to use their Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) to buy those assets or rather use shareholders’ investment or borrow from the banks to purchase those assets. In the event that they are not able to buy those assets, customers can come in and they have to be refunded.

“So what the consumers don’t know is that regulation exists and they go about making all sorts of investment which DisCos say is a donation to them because there is no agreement.’’

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