The Electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) have been accused of defrauding Nigerians with impunity.
The House of Representatives levelled the allegation on Wednesday and urged the Minister of Power, Sale Mamman, to sanction DisCos for their alleged “irresponsibility” and “wickedness”.
Mamman had appeared before the House Committee on Power to defend his ministry’s 2021 budget.
During the meeting with the minister, different federal lawmakers lamented terrible experiences members of their constituents have continued to suffer in the hands of the power distribution companies.
The chairman of the Reps committee, Magaji Dau Aliyu, expressing his frustration with DisCos told the power minister, “My happiness is that you and I are on the same level: you are in the APC, I am in APC; you are for the President and we are for the President.
“So, please, sanction the DisCos; punish them, please. If you do that, you will be our darling and you will be a darling to Nigerians also. Really, Nigerians are cheated.
“We don’t know what is the best arrangement. Are we better of when we had PHCN than we are now?
“The problem is that you have allowed them to have Bands A, B, C and D. They said people in my village don’t pay for power, so, they will not give us power.
“I have over 30 transformers in my place that are new but we don’t have light, because we are in Band D. They are only looking for Band A and Band B customers.
“So, we are going to make a law to disband this banding of power. Power should be supplied equitably to anybody. This segregation must be stopped”.
Another lawmaker, Wale Raji from Lagos, speaking said, “We do not even know whether we are better off under this present arrangement or the NEPA or PHCN that we abandoned.
“Transformers will break down and when they (residents) even call on the DisCos to complain about it, some officials even take the transformers away and never return them.
“Then, the communities are forced – they have no option – to buy a new transformer. Not having money to buy it, they resort to their elected representatives who knocked on their doors for votes.”
It was a similar lamentation from Rep Ibrahim Olarewaju from Ekiti.
“They (people of my constituents) almost burnt down my house. And what is my offence? The transformer in the town broke down, so I must buy a transformer for them.
“I had to borrow N5 million to buy a brand new transformer when they started protesting again.
“I have been on this transformer issue for one year. Mr Minister, you need to help us because the truth about the matter is that the problems we are facing in the constituency are not a joke. It almost became an inter-quarters riot.”
The Reps committee then asked Mamman to give the House full details of what the government gains from its 40 per cent equity in the privatised companies.
According to them, it was necessary DisCos were mandated to pay for electricity transformers donated by communities and community leaders.
The lawmakers also frowned that the ministry of power had failed to reveal accrued revenue from the trillions of naira expended by the government in the power sector over the years.
Meanwhile, the power minister, during the meeting said that Nigeria’s installed grid power generation capacity had been improved from 8,000mw to 13,000mw under the current government.