The Federal Government has started recovering the N32billion debt owed electricity distribution companies (DisCos) by the military, ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) by deducting directly from source.
The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Eko Electricity Distribution Company, Dr. Oladele Amoda, confirmed the development at the weekend. Although he couldn’t say exactly how much the government has been able to recover for the DisCos, he confirmed that government has started deducting the debt from MDAs.
The Executive Director, Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors (ANED),Sunday Oduntan, said the MDAs and the military owe the 11 DisCos a total of N32 billion. He said worried by the huge debts and challenges facing DisCos in the collection of electricity bills, the power firms and other industry stakeholders held a meeting which was presided over by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo.
Oduntan said: “We had a meeting with the Federal Government presided over by Vice President Prof Yemi Osinbajo, and he listened to all sides (all the stakeholders) including the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Market Operators (MO), Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading (NBET), generating, and distribution companies.
“The Vice President offered to take up the case. I can assure that this government is very serious, determined and sincere to provide electricity. The Federal Government has started looking at those issues. He promised us that MDAs will pay the debts.”
The outcome of the meeting resulted in the deduction from source the MDAs debts, he added.
On the electrocution of University of Lagos student, Amoda said: “As we proceed with our commitment to optimal service delivery to customers, it is sad to see some unfortunate incidents that appear to blight the gains of our efforts. One of such incidents is the recent electrocution in Unilag in which the precious life of a young and promising Nigerian, Justina Oluchi, was lost.
“As an organisation with a very high premium on human lives, we are so pained and grieved by this incident and we have taken measures to prevent a reoccurrence. The snapped overhead line, which was part of the obsolete network inherited from the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), was already slated for conversion to underground cables as part of our network upgrade project when the incident happened.”
He said the company constituted a high-powered investigation team under his leadership, adding that if only the conversion of the overhead lines to underground cables had been carried out a little earlier, the sad incident wouldn’t have occurred.
“As a way of preventing a costly delay of this nature in the future, all the workers found not to have taken appropriate steps that could have prevented the unfortunate incident through conversion of the line to underground cable have been relieved of their duties. One of such is a top ranking officer of the company,” he added.
Amoda also noted that the company was with the family of the deceased throughout the period of burial in Nsukka, Enugu State, adding that the company’s insurance firm is working out the compensation of the family.