Reps investigate DISCOs over arbitrary charges

Reps investigate DISCOs over arbitrary charges

The House of Representatives ad hoc committee investigating the excessive electricity billings on Wednesday blasted the electricity Distribution Companies, DisCos, and the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, over their unlawful practices in billing customers excessively even without power supply, dismissing them as failures and fraudsters.

This is just as the apex bank, the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, revealed during the investigative hearing chaired by Honourable Ajibola Israel Famurewa that there was no record of metered customers and even the estimated bill customers.

According to the apex bank, this was in spite of the disbursement of over N488billion with an interest rate of 10 percent as against the market rate of 23 percent to the DisCos.

Speaking at the hearing, Hon. Tope Olayonu (APC, Kwara) alongside his colleagues, asked the NERC Boss, Professor James Momoh, to inform the Federal Government of his ability or resign, if he was not ready for the Job.

“If you are not ready for the job, tell the Federal Government or resigns, you are and DisCos are failures. You don’t have what it take to manage the situation Nigerians are face with,” the lawmaker said.

Also, Hon. Muazu Lawal (APC, Zamfara), while taking on the representatives of the DisCos said: “I think DisCos and others are not ready for the job before them. How can you be operating like that? You just go about billing people the way you like without considering the actual power they consume. This happens everywhere in the country, including here in Abuja. This is unacceptable.

“DisCos are either operated by fraudsters or they’re just extorting money from Nigerians. If you’re not ready for the job, tell us you’re not ready.”

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CBN Governor Godwin Emiefele, who was represented by the Head of Infrastructure Financing, Elder Boma Binima, said two tranches of intervention totaling N488 billion had been given to the sector since privatisation to erase legacy debts.

“The CBN-Nigerian Electricity Market Stabilisation Facility (CBN-NEMFS) was aimed at settling deposit money banks that finance the outstanding payment obligations by market participants, service providers and gas suppliers that accrued during the Interim Rules Period (IRP Debts).

“Factored in were also the legacy has debts of the PHCN generation companies owed to gas suppliers and the Nigerian Gas Company Limited,” he revealed.

“A total of N158.74 billion has been distributed under the facility as Discos meet contract terms under the Transition Electricity Market.

“To make electricity sure electricity become sufficient, we also intervened by providing a payment assurance facility. And to date, we have disbursed N330 billion out of a projected N701 billion,” he said.

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