The Real Problem of DISCOs
ElevateNews takes a look at the problems of DISCOs.
There is going to be a drastic change in the manner at which the Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company is working soon and this is due to call for a forensic investigation of all electricity distribution companies by the Federal Government.
There is no doubt that the agreement that the former government of President Goodluck Jonathan signed with these DISCOs is outright slavery pact that had subjected electricity consumers to a serious problem.
One of the agreements is that irrespective of who provides power infrastructure, as soon as it is energized, it automatically becomes the property of the DISCOs. All these distribution companies have capitalized on this clause to extort customers.
Many communities in Nigeria today are suffering because the government has failed to build power infrastructure there. The government of President Olusegun Obasanjo began the rural electrification project, which built power infrastructure in many places through the idea of Power Holding Company of Nigeria but today it is the Community Development Associations that are doing this.
It is expected that the DISCOs should provide power infrastructure and assets, like transformers, with which it can service its customers but these do not happen, rather, the DISCOs easily take over whatever infrastructure it meets on the ground and turn it to its personal assets.
Residents buy cables, poles, and transformers; pay contractors to build the infrastructure in many communities and invite DISCOs to energise. Prior to energizing of the transformer, the DISCOs will ensure that the CDAs sign papers to surrender all its assets and infrastructure to the companies.
After this, the DISCOs bring estimated bills to further extort Nigerians just because a government in the past has subjected the citizens to this slavery arrangement.
However, since the DISCOs took over, it appears that many of the companies lack the necessary capacities to distribute electricity to consumers. DISCOs are strictly a money making venture. For instance, the IKEDC that is supposed to service my area has failed woefully in supplying regular power.
Yet, the billing system is so poor that consumers groan everyday. Under the Meter Asset Provider, a scheme that is supposed to provide meters to all consumers, the IKEDC has failed in that it has not collaborated effectively with the various companies that are responsible for the meter distribution.
Early last week, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission mandated all DISCOs to provide meters to all consumers before April and if it must issue estimated bills, it must not exceed N1, 500 for those who have no meter.
DISCOs are not happy with this regulation, even though these companies have failed to buy enough energy from the power generation companies. For instance, the IKEDC hardly invests to maintain billion naira infrastructures it met on ground.
Till date, the IKEDC still depends on one feeder to supply the whole of Abule Egba, Ikeja and Somolu. That is why many communities in this area suffer a continuous outage.