A recent report by the Electricity Consumers Association of Nigeria (ECAN)
has alleged that the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) makes an
inexcusable sum of N240 billion from electricity consumers annually.
President of ECAN, Mr. Chijioke James, while speaking at workshop on the
Electric Power Sector Reform (EPSR) Act 2005,
said electricity consumers in the country are compelled to pay between N300
to N500 monthly as Meter Maintenance Fee (MMF), but the meters are never
serviced by PHCN.
Nigeria has about 30-40 million direct subscribers of electricity who pay
the MMF. Using the average of N500 per consumer, it amounts to about N20
billion monthly and N240 billion annually. Mr. James described this fee as a
total rip-off on consumers.
"…. with this huge amount at their disposal, most communities are still
thrown into darkness," he said… ECAN, as a consumer rights advocacy group,
will protect the rights of consumers of electricity in Nigeria. We will
educate our members on the need to pay their bills for services rendered and
not for services not rendered." he said.
Earlier in the year, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC)
announced that it will discontinue the questionable MMF in the new
electricity tariff which is scheduled to be implemented in January 2012.
The removal of the MMF should result in some reduction in the monthly tariff
paid by electricity consumers across the country. NERC has also promised to
introduce a pro-poor electricity tariff rate for Nigerians who cannot
conveniently pay for the electricity they consume. According to the
commission, the pro-poor tariff regime is expected to be supported by
funding from high profile electricity consumers, and will be administered by
a credible framework with the instrumentality of the power consumer
assistance fund (PCAF).
Meanwhile, Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN) has cautioned
against the overregulation of the distribution of electricity by the
National Electricity Distribution Commission. Governor Fashola made this
statement when he received the Chief Executive Officer of the Electricity
Regulation Commission, Engineer Sam Amadi and the newly appointed Chief
Executive Officer of the Eko Electricity Distribution Company, Engineer
Oladele Amoda on separate courtesy visits at Lagos House in Ikeja. He
advised that the electricity regulatory agency should not concern itself
with talk on multiplicity of distributors but rather preoccupy itself with
how to ensure that more companies are engaged in supply.
He pointed out that, as time went by, the small and not too strong ones will
realign in tune with operational realities.
The Governor said the State Government is working on the possibility of
building the Alausa power plant to take care of the power needs in the Lagos
State Government Secretariat and return the quatum of power being utilized
currently presently to other residents of the Alausa area.
He added that the State Government is also interested in working to provide
an arrangement that will allow five clusters including the Ilupeju, Matori
and Ikorodu as well as the Shomolu area which is very prominent for its
concentration of printers to get power arrangement that will take them off
the public power supply and get them a dedicated power supply.
He also informed that in the Central Business District, it would make a wide
world of difference if the people can enjoy electricity from 7am to 7pm
because the economy will improve considerably.
He added that part of the plans of the government is to expand the capacity
of the Island Power Project from 10 megawatts to 114 megawatts, adding that
the only constraint for now is gas supply.