Ikeja electric: Oke Afa undertaking customers protest three weeks of blackout

Invoke No Power, No Pay NERC Rule

For three weeks, residents in parts of Ejigbo, Isolo and other electricity consumers under the Oke Afa Undertaking Office of Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company (IE), Lagos, were thrown into the darkness since last week of February 2020.

The main cause of the outage has remained unknown till date, apart from the gas challenge, which the Transmission Company said, was going to last for 10 days. The electricity company has failed to issue any official statement to explain the protracted darkness.

 
The commercial activities in the affected areas, especially for those who rely solely on electricity have been grounded to a halt, just as homes and offices rely on generators.

The residents claimed there was no prior information to announce the blackout and no information yet on compensation, which is contrary to the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) Act.

Though unofficial reports have it that the blackout might not be unconnected with the gas constraint experienced recently, reports from other undertakings under the IE, showed there has been power supply.

Aggrieved residents, who bemoaned what they termed injustice meted out to them by the electricity company, accused the IE of extortion and deliberate attempt to frustrate innocent Nigerians.

According to the NERC Act: “all customers have a right to be properly informed and educated on the electricity service,” which the Disco had failed to follow.

Also, Section 80(3) of the Electricity Power Sector Reform Act (EPSRA) provides that NERC shall establish standards for compensation to consumers who do not enjoy regular power supply. Additionally, Section 83 also provides for the establishment of the “Power Consumer Assistance Fund,” for purposes of subsidising underprivileged power consumers as specified by the Minister.

The Guardian learnt that if electricity consumers begin to exercise their rights through the necessary Acts and laws from NERC, the DisCos will sit tight and ensure better service delivery at all times.

In a related development, reports have it that the DisCo might have surreptitiously kicked-off the new tariff regime despite directives from NERC to shelve the plan.

Reports from electricity consumers under Akowonjo, Abule-Taylor, Agbado Station Undertakings, among others, showed that the estimated bill issued for the month of February increased by almost 100 per cent.

A resident of Ekoro area of Abule-Egba, Frank Emopkai told The Guardian that the electricity supplied by the DisCo in January was almost the same with what they supplied in February, but while they brought N7, 500 for January, it rose to N12, 708.27 in February.

“There is nothing special about the electricity supplied in February. In fact, most of the nights, despite the heat, we didn’t have constant electricity, yet they brought over N12, 000. There is no doubt that they have increased the tariff.”

But the Head, Corporate Communications of the company, Felix Ofulue, said messages were sent to all customers “informing them of the gas shortage and the impact on generation, which has reduced the quantum of energy available for distribution.

“It is not an Ikeja electric issue but we have a responsibility to inform our customers. The bill will reflect the fact that there was no supply that period. There will not be any compensation.”

On the alleged tariff increase, Ofolue said: “It is important to let you know that DisCos are not responsible for tariff review. That is strictly the role of the regulator.”

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