Feature Politics

Electricity consumers’ bitter experience with DISCOs

 

Power supply has been a major problem in many states in Nigeria. From Lagos to Port Harcourt; Ibadan to Abuja, the story is largely the same as people complain of poor power supply and exorbitant bill issued by electricity distribution companies, DISCOs. In most cases, communities and estates buy transformers, poles and other infrastructure only for DISCOs to come and energise them for a fee and commence billing the people, contrary to existing laws. Worse still is that many state governments have failed to release transformers to the people, or when they do, it is done based on party patronage.

 

Energy supply situation in Ibafo, Magboro, Mowe-Ofada areas of Ogun State is somewhat disheartening because it is hardly available. Ironically, people use power supply for many things, like small and medium scale businesses, and for domestic purposes like preserving foodstuffs at home and relaxation.

 

This is why the residents in Ibafo, Assese, Mowe- Ofada under IBDEC have requested for the distribution of prepaid metres to every home within the axis because of the dangers of estimated billing system with little or no power supply. A former Head of Presentationa, Grace FM, Lokoja, Mrs. Mojibalogun Akinsanya, who lives in Aringbawo, talks about how dissatisfied she is with power supply on a monthly basis. “No one is satisfied with the power supply because the light is not regular.

 

So, basically, for business people, it is poor and even for people that are not doing any business, for you to be comfortable at home your electric fan, air conditioner, illumination, your television in order to be informed. Basically, they are not giving us that “Before now, we used to pay N4,000 per flat but right now, because I live in an estate, so the estate takes care of it as long as you pay your estate bills.

 

So, the monthly bill should be like N3,000” She went on to express how she felt paying such amount of money without satisfaction. “I feel cheated and I feel very uncomfortable because if you are going to pay for a service, you get value for it but in terms of power supply, we don’t get value, because what they bring is not commensurate with the bill you’re paying. DISCOs seem to be organizations where people just can’t fight.

 

The option we have is to call them out in the media.” She called for distribution of pre-paid metres where units of power are purchased via a card in order to know how to manage it and get value for money. Residents of the area have requested for the distribution of the pre–paid metres, but for some reasons, the Ibadan Electric Distribution Company IBEDC has failed to heed such requests.

 

Mr. Obinna, who lives at Higher Ground, Mowe and pays a monthly bill of N6,000, said: “Concerning the extent of power supply, it’s not supposed to be that way. At least, in a month, we should have light for at least, three weeks. We would be satisfied with that and billing should be done through pre-paid metres.”

 

Mrs. Ireti Lawal who sells frozen foods, and lives at Orukole talked about how poor power supply affects her business. “It really affects the business.

 

We can’t compare public power supply to a generator, because sometimes when there is no light and you turn on the generator it cannot freeze my goods properly. So if it is not frozen, customers will reject it, because selling spoiled fish and chicken is not good.

 

When the goods change colour I have to throw them away or give them to people who own dogs and that is a shortage. “I am not satisfied. We are paying for services not rendered.

 

The amount we pay is too much. When they want to collect money they give us light, but immediately they collect the money they’ll cut the light for two weeks so the next month when they want to distribute bills they bring the light, so we are not satisfied, we are just managing it” Mr. Adelakun Muyiwa who is the Chairowed

 

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