Written by Sarah NEGEDU

Discos rake in N2trn annually from estimated billing’

Electricity consumers under the aegis of the Association for Public Policy Analysis, APPA, have accused electricity distribution companies, DisCos, of fleecing consumers through unfair estimated bills.

The association was responding to the recent disclosure of the DisCos that they are running at a loss from the privatized firms since they took over in 2013 which hinders their performance.

Some successor companies had penultimate week hinted that they were running at a lost and are willing to resell the power assets to the federal government or any interested buyer at discount. The investors were reacting to the charge by the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola to the NERC to heighten enforcement actions on the DisCos.

However, APPA is insisting that the DisCos rake in over N2trillion annually by giving customers unfair estimated bills, which should be enough to improve power supply services.

A statement by the President of the association, Comrade Princewill Okorie, said with the estimated billing methodology, consumers expect the DisCos to make public the number of metered consumers and declare the revenue they generate monthly and annually.

“It is suspected that electricity Distribution Companies, DisCos, collect over N2trillion annually from electricity consumers in communities under the 774 Local Government Councils in Nigeria through estimated billing.

“Still, they claim that tariff is inadequate without putting mechanism in place to transparently show evidence of revenues they generate,” APPA said.

The group said an independent survey in the South-East Zone across 95 Local Government Areas shows that the DisCos generate about N28billion annually from the consumers through estimated billing.

“Each autonomous community in LGAs in Imo State for example, is given estimated bill of N750,000 monthly and they  do not enjoy the electricity for up to 15 days in a month,” according to the survey outcome.

APPA supported the recent call of the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola for improved power delivery services especially in ending estimated billing.

They said, “If the current policy direction given to the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, is carried out expeditiously, Nigeria Electricity Consumers will be relieved of exploitative estimated billing by DisCos, jobs will be created through small power entrepreneurs and the Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading, NBET, will be happy to see power that it generates is being transmitted and distributed to consumers.”

 

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