The Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors (ANED) has clarified the reason why electricity distribution companies (DisCos) took possession of electricity infrastructure procured by individuals and communities for use by their networks.
ANED is the umbrella body of DisCos.
The executive director, research and advocacy, ANED, Sunday Oduntan, via a statement released on Monday, stated that the action by Discos is to ensure subsequent repairs and safety of such equipment.
He noted that since the DisCos are responsible for any incident on infrastructure, there was a need for indemnity.
“It is important for Nigerians to understand that DisCos have a responsibility to ensure that only good quality equipment duly certified by Nigerian Electricity Management and Safety Agency (NEMSA) are installed in our network,” he said.
Oduntan stated that the equipment, once installed needed to be fully protected by the utility companies.
He noted that there are instances where transformers that were installed in the days of Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), for instance in Lugbe, Abuja, caused electrocution.
Oduntan said the Discos needed to protect the equipment and ensure that access was only granted to qualified personnel, as some people had lost their lives because they were trying to maintain their transformers without being certified to do so.
“This is why we ask customers to write a letter of donation to the DisCos. If the items do not belong to the DisCos, they cannot exercise any right over the use of the items, nor should they bear liability for any incident that occurs thereafter,” he said.
He noted that it is the responsibility of the DisCos to provide electricity infrastructure, adding that in situations where the demand is far more than supply due to shortage of funds, customers do step in to help their communities.
He stated that since privatisation, members of ANED had invested considerably in improvements in their networks since 2013.
“However, in reality where the absence of infrastructure is excruciatingly acute, and considering the huge cost of revamping inherited networks, it is understandable when customers decide to step in rather than taking the option of waiting till resources needed to service their needs are appropriated by their respective Discos,” Oduntan said.
He noted that the issue of community volunteering was stipulated by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).
He also said accusations surrounding disconnections and reconnection fees charged by Discos were unfair, saying disconnection is a legitimate recourse available to service providers under certain conditions.
Oduntan added that the reconnection fee was a penalty to dissuade repeat offenders and cover cost.