By Awodeha Gabriel,
A pressure group in Delta State, People’s Progressive Parliament (PPP) has urged the Federal House of Representatives not to allow selfish interests kill its bill to stop estimated billing methodology employed by Electricity Distribution Companies (Discos) across the country.
It maintained that the bill, initiated over nine months ago by the Majority Leader of the House, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, if passed and signed into law will address over 70% of the power challenges faced by electricity consumers in the country.
The group who was reacting to the poor power supply to Deltans by the Benin Electricity Distribution company (BEDC) before and after the Christmas celebration, argued that the lack of proper legislation to checkmate activities of the Discos and protect consumers right has given rise to the continous decline in power supply in the country.
In a statement signed by its Chairman, Matthew Onorhere and Secretary, Sam Nakuduvwo and made available to newsmen, PPP faulted the commendation made by the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) over the stability of power supply in the country during the Christmas period, noting that the student body should ensure it get its fact right before making such general statement.
The statement reads in part, “We want to call on the House of Representative to speed up the passage of the bill prohibiting the Disco companies from giving estimated bill to consumers. The Discos are sleeping and not doing anything to improve power supply all over the country, and it is because no law to stop them from extorting money from the consumers.
“The issue of poor supply and extortion is not new and it affects over 70% of electricity consumers, everybody is complaining about it including the government but the unfortunate thing is that nobody is ready to do anything about it.
“In some parts of Delta State for instance, we received reports from staffs of BEDC that the lack of supply was not due to a fault but deliberate, as the MD, Funke has repeatedly queried them for giving supply to consumers. ‘She say we dey waste the light’ one of the staff told us.
“The ministers of power told us the other day to hold the Discos responsible for poor power supply, but how do we do that? Is it by violence and taking laws into our hands? Meanwhile thesame government provides these companies security to go about forcing people pay for electricity they never consumed and arresting innocent citizens who try to challenge oppression.
“It’s been about nine months now since that bill passed second reading with high hopes and applauds by Nigerians, that at last our representatives are ready to take the bull by the horn but unfortunately, the bill has suddenly gone silent.
“We want to appeal to the Lower Chambers especially the Majority Leader of the House, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, who initiated the bill not to allow it to be killed by any selfish interest or the powers that be. Nigerians are strongly behind the passage of that bill and whoever makes it happen will definitely win the hearts of Nigerians. If we cannot have improved electricity supply we should be made to pay for what we we consumed and no more.”