*Says DISCOs unduly exploiting Nigerians
*Plans Bill to stop the practice
By Christiana Ekpa
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, has said that the House would ensure that Nigerians get adequate supply for the electricity they pay for.
The Speaker said the House would give adequate attention to the practice of estimated billing by electricity distribution companies (Discos) to address the challenges Nigerians face.
He said the House would not tolerate a situation where discos take advantage to present outrageous bills to Nigerians, hence the resolve of the Green Chamber to revisit it and come up with a law that would put a stop to the practice of estimated billing.
Speaking when he received the management team of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) during a courtesy call in his office in Abuja, Gbajabiamila said it was the responsibility of the House to make life easy for the citizens.
It would be recalled that the Speaker had during his term as House Leader in the 8th Assembly, presented a bill to criminalise estimated billing, though it did not get presidential assent. Upon the inauguration of the 9th Assembly, the bill was reintroduced for another consideration.
“The issue of estimated billing has been in the front burner. It has been in this House, and we will revisit it soon. We can’t allow discos to continue to do what they have been doing over the years.
“You said discos need to be recapitalised. I don’t know what you mean by that. These are private companies, do you mean that the government should come in? Maybe you should explain more on that,” the Speaker said.
While commending the current management of the TCN led by its Managing Director, Malam U. G. Mohammed, the Speaker tasked them to work closely with the leadership of the House and the relevant committees to achieve its goals.
“We’re going to be engaging you on the correlation between electricity supply and how to improve poverty. You have done well, I must commend you so far. But what we would like to know is for you to give us a breakdown of your real challenges, your real problems,” the Speaker said.
He called for a periodic review of the performance of discos, saying the house would do everything within its powers to ensure that TCN delivers on its mandate to Nigerians.
Earlier in a presentation, the TCN MD said the company has been repositioned since the current management under him took over.
He said some of the challenges have to do with discos, noting that there has been no investment in them, saying they need 4.3 billion dollars investment at the moment.
The MD also noted that the past management of TCN under Manitoba did not perform well in the four years that it managed the company, with several challenges, including non-audited accounts for the period.