Electricity consumer group seeks forensic audit of DisCos
NNN: The Forum for the Protection of All Electricity Consumers, AECPF, has called for a forensic audit of electricity distribution companies following the recent strike by members of the Nigerian Union of Electricity Employees, NUEE.
Adeola Samuel-Ilori, National Coordinator, AECPF, made the call in an interview with the Nigerian News Agency on Thursday in Lagos.
NAN reports that the industrial action against the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company, AEDC, on December 6 resulted in a total blackout within the DisCo network area for approximately 14 hours before it was canceled.
The move resulted in the dismissal of AEDC management by the lender (Receiving Administrator) that provided the acquisition loan for KANN Utility Company Limited to acquire a majority stake in AEDC during the privatization exercise in 2013.
Mr. Samuel-Ilori noted that the AEDC management’s failure to meet its financial obligations to the lender and company employees had once again highlighted the issue of the financial competence of some of the DisCos.
It claimed that another DisCo was also financially indebted to a bank from which funds were raised to acquire a majority stake during the privatization exercise.
“The federal government does not have the power to fire the DisCos administration, but what the government can do as a stakeholder in the 11 DisCos is perform a forensic audit on their books.
“The inability of some of the DisCos to meet their financial obligations to stakeholders in the electricity sector, including their employees, eight years after privatization is concerning,” said Samuel-Ilori.
He said DisCos’ revenue was impacted by many customers getting prepaid meters that had eliminated arbitrary estimate invoices from companies.
Samuel-Ilori said that the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, should have stepped up its regulatory oversight over DisCos ensuring compliance with its strict orders and directives.
However, he criticized DisCos’ license review requests, noting that the move could lead to litigation by affected parties.
Samuel-Ilori said the Privatization Agreement stipulated that only one review could be conducted every five years with a moratorium of an additional year that expired in 2018 and 2019 respectively without the government doing the review.
“The best thing to do now is to wait until it reaches 10 years, which will be in 2023, and then the government should do what is necessary to review the privatization exercise,” he said.
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