The umbrella of the Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors (ANED) has said that the decay in the power sector cannot be cleaned up in two years because it is an on-going investment programme for distribution companies.
The Director, Research and Advocacy, ANED, Mr. Sunday Oduntan said this while speaking to journalists in Abuja.
Oduntan said “The decay in the sector spans 50 years. So, it cannot be cleaned up in a year or two. It is an ongoing investment programme to us the Discos.
“For instance, we spend much to improve the Information and Communication Technology within the companies so as to enhance the billing system. What we inherited from the PHCN (Power Holding Company of Nigeria) was a very ugly billing method that was completed and it created occasions for duplication of bills.
“Some bills were drawn fictitiously in connivance with some workers, who go to the computer room to create new billing address, leaving the old ones. Many of the old bills kept running but the persons who own them could not be traced. So, we invested funds to clear these mess and we also invested in equipment like transformers and many other things because of the rot.
“They accuse us of not investing in the networks but they don’t pay their bills. A federal agency in Abuja is owing Abuja Disco N90m. On disconnection, they paid N20m and later they were taken to court. We told them to pay N10m and then sign a monthly payment plan to offset the N70m debt but they refused and so they remain disconnected.
“They reported to NERC and instead of NERC to support the Disco’s efforts of getting the money, shockingly our regulator that should be a neutral arbitrator sent a letter to the Disco that the agency must be reconnected despite the huge debt by the corporation and instructed that it must not remain in darkness.
“I hope the regulator is not telling us now to be condoning debt, while it wants us to invest hugely in the sector. There are many similar examples. For instance, men at the military barracks in Keffi beat up our officers who went there just to collect their bills.”