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DISCOs are ripping customers’ off, says Abolarinwa

Mr. Olatunbosun Abolarinwa is a British-trained security expert. In this interview with AMANDA MENEKE, he talks about the importance of power supply in the country, his experience with DISCOs and how he thinks things can be resolved

 

 

As a security analyst, what role does power supply play in crime prevention? To be honest, apart from the fact that we need power to power many of the equipment of the 21st century, in the offices, once it is dark in Nigeria we need power. There is something we call a dark spot or black spot. It is a landed area that does not have lights, and they are the dark spot for crime.

 

There are many dark spots or black spots in Nigeria that you don’t need policemen or a soldier to guide the place. All you need to do is to light the place up and criminals will move away from there. So power supply in the area of light powering of equipment is very paramount to security and insecurity of Nigeria”

 

Are you satisfied with the quality of power supply and billing system, especially, without a prepaid metres?

 

I am not satisfied. It is fraudulent. You just use the word billing now. There must be something you use to bill people for power supplied. When I was growing up, one of the things we received every month is a NEPA official coming to read the meter and distributing the bill.

 

And when they said they are bringing in prepaid meters, the issue of estimated bills is still a problem that even the National Assembly is considering, and people don’t know their rights; they do not know that they don’t have to pay estimated bills. You can’t deny it.

 

All you need to do is to put it in writing. So I am not really satisfied. As I am speaking to you my house is not powered and they are bringing bills to me because I have a meter, the prepaid meter for that matter, who sends a bill to someone with a prepaid meter that is not powered and the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company is aware.

 

So the whole thing is shrouded in fraud, making the DISCOs richer and the people who are paying the money poorer because they are not getting value for the money.

 

 

What is your position on provision and maintenance of power infrastructure?

It has been made clear in law, even the National Electricity Regulating Commission has it is not the responsibility of consumers but that the DISCOs supply poles, cables, transformers, feeder pillars and meters. It is their duty to run a cable from wherever the electricity supply is, down to your meter into your compound, but unfortunately individuals are now buying transformers.

 

The DISCOs are making people buy transformers and there is a provision in the law that they are supposed to refund them. Any time a consumer buys cable or whatever it’s supposed to be refunded to them where a policy called investment in power line programme. I am a living example. I applied for four meters and they sent me a bill that I should pay.

 

After paying for the first one, someone told me that I am not supposed to pay, so I went to challenge them. They brought the remaining three meters without asking me for a dime. And they asked me to write for refund. I have written them twice for a refund but they are yet to refund me.

 

So it is fraudulent on the part of Abuja Electricity Companies. I don’t know about others but the fraud going on in Abuja DISCO is becoming a slap on the face of the citizens and it is beginning to look as if there is no law and there is no government, although I’m glad that recently ICPC is beginning to look into it. There must be a reason for that, that warrants ICPC start checking the discos, but it is something that is worth looking into and is mind boggling with what is happening with discos in Nigeria

 

. What has been your experience with DISCOs?

 

My experience with DISCOs is very horrible. Like the case of Abuja Electricity, where I am, at the moment, I applied for meters and applied for them to connect me to the national grid.

 

The resident association where I live asked that I should pay N150,000 to be connected. It is not my duty to pay.

They claim they bought a transformer and cable. So I told them to go to Abuja electricity and ask for a refund on the investment in the power programme.

 

They cut my electricity and Abu electricity is conniving with them insisting that I pay N150,000, so my home has been out of power for almost a year, since December 2, 2020. That shows the level of impunity that is going on in the discos”

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