The House of Representatives under the leadership of Hon Yakubu Dogara has commenced an investigation into allegations of excessive electricity charges being levied on consumers by distribution companies.
Dogara, while delivering a remark at the investigative hearing held by the House ad-hoc committee set up to curb excessive electricity charges by the distribution companies, explained that the investigation is being carried out with a view to reducing the financial burden on Nigerians and finding a lasting solution to the crisis currently plaguing the energy sector.
“The House is aware of the financial hardship being experienced by most of our people, due to the high electricity charges by DISCOs. This has further compounded the difficulty brought about by the economic downturn in the country. We are, therefore, determined to get all the facts on the matter, with a view to addressing it”, he said.
He revealed that the committee was setup following allegations that after the unbundling of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), the DISCOs hurriedly installed new sets of prepaid meters which gobble the units purchased much faster than the older prepaid meters.
He charged the committee to “unravel the veracity of the allegation of the presence of wrongly configured prepaid meters that are over-billing the already impoverished masses of this country” and urged all stakeholders and participants to be objective, truthful and open in their submissions and discussions.
“As a Parliament, we are obliged to be fair to both the service providers and the consumers in our Legislation. Everyone must therefore, seize this opportunity to provide us with all the available information. We must all put heads together to find a lasting solution to the crisis in our Energy Sector, so that all the people of Nigeria can enjoy stable and affordable electricity supply to enhance the quality of our lives,” he said.
He stated that the House is also currently working on legislation which will further protect consumers.
“As most of the stakeholders present here may be aware, the House of Representatives is currently working on a Bill for an Act to Amend the Electricity Power Sector Reform Act, 2004, to Prohibit and Criminalize Estimated Billing by Electricity Distribution Companies and Provide for Compulsory Installation of Prepaid Meters to all Power Consumers in Nigeria. The Bill is already at the Committee stage, and it is meant to block another loophole by which the DISCOs are allegedly cheating consumers.
Speaker Dogara described the work of the investigative committee as instrumental to the successful implementation of the proposed law and urged the committee to carry out its assignment expeditiously.