Only 260,000 consumers pay electricity bill in Kano — KEDCO

Only 260,000 consumers pay their electricity bill regularly in Kano, the Kano State Electric Distribution Company, KEDCO, told participants at a workshop in Kano.

According to KEDCO on Tuesday, there were 600,000 consumers in its book, blaming corruption for the loss of huge revenue.

DAILY COMMERCE Nigeria reports that KEDCO was among some electricity distribution companies (DisCos) recently disconnected from the national grid by the Transmission Company of Nigeria for inability to pay their outstanding debts.

The DisCos were later reconnected after the intervention of Abubakar Aliyu, the minister of power, who has considered the collateral consequences on the paying customers.

The one-day workshop themed ‘building consumer awareness and strengthening the customer service capacity of the electricity distribution companies’ was organised by Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors (ANED) under the ANED MacArthur Foundation Project.

Barr. Sunday Oduntan, a legal practitioner with the company in his presentation titled Corruption Practices-DISCOs Perspective, noted that ‘corruption is one of the major factors killing the power sector or business in the country with the DISCOs facing both internal and external challenges.

According to him, illegal connections, meter bypassing and other sharp practices by electricity consumers are some of the factors that cumulated to poor power supply recently experienced in places like Kano as the company is not able to meet up to what it is expected to remit to Transmission Company of Nigeria, (TCN) hence, its disconnection by the TCN.

He charged the general public to key into the company’s whistleblower policy by reporting any form of illegality by any person, groups or business premises within their neighborhood for necessary actions to be taken adding that by so doing, the DISCOs will be able to deliver efficiently.

The facilitator, Mr. Oyebode Fadipe also added for the sector to survive, people must realize that electricity no longer belongs to the government and that the sector must be funded while we must all begin to see it as our personal property.

He also added that there was the need for a strong partnership between the consumers and the DISCOs for better and steady growth as obtained in other places.

Further, in his paper presentation titled ‘Retail Corruption in Nigeria’s Electricity Sector: Consumer’s Perspective’, Mr. Hassan Baba Shamaki, Federal Competition and Consumer protection Commission (FCCPC) stated that, retail corruption in the power sector has heightened many of the industry’s problems, such as poor infrastructure, inadequate funding, erratic power supply, poor customer service and customer dissatisfaction. It has also hampered power reliability and affordability.

As part of way forward to some of the challenges bedeviling the power sector, Shamaki suggested more awareness, use of technology for monitoring consumers, demanding for transparency, provision of meters and regulators such as the FCCPC and NERC ensure compliance to standards and penalties for offenders are stringent.

The Head of the MacArthur Foundation, Mr. Kole Shetima who graced the workshop said, the foundation introduced the project considering its importance to the populace as almost every life is affected by electricity.

Shetima added that a positive change in the power sector will transform the lives of many which will spur positive response from electricity consumers needed by the DSCOs for efficient service delivery.

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