Business

DISCOs begin mass disconnection

The Electricity Distribution Companies (Discos) have begun mass disconnection of customers indebted to them nationwide.

Among those affected are government establishments, residential and commercial buildings.

The DisCos have been bulking under the weight of huge debts owed by its customers especially the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) as well as the military.

The mass disconnection is to protest the huge unpaid debts.

As at end of last month, the total debt was in excess of N93 billion, the utility firms said.

With the DisCos decision, there will be long widespread blackout as they (DisCos) are insisting on reconnection only when payment is made.

According to the DisCos, these customers have to seek alternative means of electricity supply until the debt issue is resolved, and that government establishments including the military and security agencies alone owe some ₦93 billion.

The DisCos recently in national newspapers gave all historic debtors deadlines within which to pay their debts or have their electricity supply disconnected.

The Executive Director, Research and Advocacy, Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors (ANED), Sunday Oduntan, said the DisCos had to carry out its threat of mass disconnection when it became “obvious that there is nothing on the table.”

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He said: “Although we appreciate the efforts of the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo and the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, but the stark reality is that there is nothing concrete to hold on to. No allowance for MDAs debt to DisCos in the budget, even though we started discussion before the budget was passed. The indebtedness has become so huge that we are truly troubled about how the government would resolve this without a budgetary allocation. ”

Oduntan however, noted that the current mass disconnection protest embarked upon by DISCOs is not an exercise targeted at MDAs, “but all historic debtors.

“Our position is that this indebtedness is killing us; it is seriously impacting negatively on the entire value chain in the power sector equation. Don’t forget that only 25 per cent of this debt actually belongs to DisCos, the rest are for other companies in the value chain – generating companies, the Bulk Trader, Gas suppliers, among others.

“So if you don’t pay and you accumulate debt, what you are looking at is a possible total collapse of the entire power sector. That is what we seek to avert by this action. We need this fund to energise the power sector; to ensure electricity supply and to grow the sector”, he said.

 

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