WAMAC: How Electricity Distribution Companies Shortchanged Nigerians Through Estimated Billings, Metering Manipulations 

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Nigerians have been alerted on the manipulations in the electricity sector by electricity distribution companies through estimated billings and metering manipulations. 

The Wadata Media and Advocacy Centre (WAMAC) an NGO, with the support of MacArthur Foundation, made the disclosure in a communique it issued in Akure, the Ondo State capital after a Town Hall Meeting with select Nigerians at the weekend.

Mr Zubair Idris, Executive Director/Programmes Manager, at WAMAC, who signed the communique further disclosed that the meeting was to amplify the Fight against Corruption in Local Languages, with a theme: “Issues of Systemic Corruption In Public and Private Sectors: A Deep Dive Into Electricity Sector in Ondo State.”

Participants were drawn from the Media, Civil Society Organizations, Community-Based Organizations, Religious and Community leaders as well as the National Orientation Agency {NOA}, the Federal Road Safety Corps {FRSC}, Market Women association led by the Iyaloja of Akure and People With Disabilities (PWDs).

In a presentation, Mr. Uket Eko Obonga, National Secretary, NECAN & Lead Director, Energy Consumer Consultancy Services (ECCS), observed that the corruption in metering, customer classification, billing, customer investment in network infrastructure, etc, has resulted in huge revenue loss on the consumers and the entire market value chain. 

“While the meter serves as a revenue assurance tool for the NESI service providers and a resource management tool for end-use customers that receive services, non-metering therefore robs the sector of the much needed revenue to drive development and expansion of the market.

“Customers who are victims of this multifaceted robbery develop apathy in the settlement of monthly invoices thereby whittle down sector revenues.

Customers continue to loose huge sums of money to the DISCOs through these fraudulent practices that has continued unabated,” he said.

Mr Obonga added the solution to the corruption in the electricity sector is to embark on massive consumer awareness drive to educate the larger segment of the population so long will the evil of corruption spread its tentacles.

“The Commission and its regulatory instruments has to be rejigged and strengthened to perform its functions of ensuring compliance with the Orders and Regulations that has been put in place to protect the customers and sanctions meted out to Service Providers who breach them.

“The regulator must be made to realize that her actions or inactions impact either positively or negatively on the NESI.”

At the end of the Town Hall meeting, the following resolutions were made to fast track the Fight Against Corruption through Community Participation as follows:

i. The Town Hall meeting commended President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for signing into law an Act to reduce the monopoly of electricity Generation, Distribution and Renewable energy.

ii. Community leaders and participants called on the people to take the menace of corruption in all sectors with utmost seriousness.

iii. The meeting called for more awareness on the manipulations by Electricity Distribution Companies (EDC’s) on estimated billings and metering manipulations to defraud electricity consumers.

iv. Participants of the Town Hall meeting called for effective regulation of the electricity sector by the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to curtail excesses by the Electricity Distribution Companies on estimated billings. 

v. The meeting urged Community Based Organizations (CBO’s), Journalists and the society to report alleged corrupt practices and extortions by Electricity Distribution Companies to NERC and anti-corruption agencies.

vi. Participants observed the level of extortion by EDC’s and called for investigation and intervention of refunds for purchase of transformers and accessories by consumers as demanded by DISCO’s.

vii. The participants denounced malpractices of Distribution Companies (DISCO’s) on metering by asking consumers to pay for PREPAID meters or repairs of faulty or obsolete meters.

viii. Finally, the meeting urged participants to grow beyond Town Hall meetings to be ambassadors of anti-corruption.

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