By Eseoghene Emuke
The House of Representatives has been urged not to succumb to pressure from external forces seeking to stop the proposed bill to criminalise estimated billing by Electricity Distribution Companies in the country.
A group, People’s Progressive Parliament (PPP), which made the appeal in a statement on Saturday, raised the alarm that there are moves by some prominent Nigerian to step down the bill for selfish reasons.
The statement signed by the group’s Chairman, Matthew Onorhere and Secretary, Sam Nakuduvwo, noted that the bill when passed, it would address over 70 per cent of challenges facing electricity consumers in the country.
It stated that the current estimated billing methodology employed by Electricity Distribution Companies (Discos) across the country is one of the major factors why stable electricity supply had remained evasive.
It maintained that the bill which was initiated by the Majority Leader of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, over nine months ago will solve the nation’s power challenges.
It stated, “We want to call on the House of Representative to speed up the passage of the bill prohibiting the Disco companies from giving estimated bill to consumers. The Discos are sleeping and not doing anything to improve power supply all over the country, and it is because no law to stop them from extorting money from the consumers.
“The issue of poor supply and extortion is not new and it affects over 70% of electricity consumers, everybody is complaining about it including the government but the unfortunate thing is that nobody is ready to do anything about it.
“In some parts of Delta State for instance, we received reports from staffs of BEDC that the lack of supply was not due to a fault but deliberate, as the MD, Funke has repeatedly queried them for giving supply to consumers. ‘She say we dey waste the light’ one of the staff told us.”
While also reacting to poor power supply to Delta State by the Benin Electricity Distribution company (BEDC) before and after the Christmas celebrations, the group urged the lawmakers to urgently pass the bill to put to an end the era of electricity consumers’ exploitation in the state.
“The ministers of power told us the other day to hold the Discos responsible for poor power supply, but how do we do that? Is it by violence and taking laws into our hands? Meanwhile the same government provides these companies security to go about forcing people pay for electricity they never consumed and arresting innocent citizens who try to challenge oppression.
“It’s been about nine months now since that bill passed second reading with high hopes and applauds by Nigerians, that at last our representatives are ready to take the bull by the horn but unfortunately, the bill has suddenly gone silent.
“We want to appeal to the Lower Chambers especially the Majority Leader of the House, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, who initiated the bill not to allow it to be killed by any selfish interest or the powers that be”, PPP added.