THE concept that ordinarily  should drive any reform   process is improved efficiency resulting in effective service-delivery. But the power reform deal which crystallized in the sale of NEPA to private investors has turned out to be the worst exercise in the unbundling process of government parastals. Darkness has not only remained a constant companion of Nigerians but the exploitative billing system by the various distribution companies is as bad as rubbing pepper on injuries. “The payment of fixed charge is akin to payment for inefficiency because all our members run on generators more than electricity, the fixed charge even though it is alleged to encourage investors, is like putting the cart before the horse.”THE concept that ordinarily should drive any reform process is improved efficiency resulting in effective service-delivery. But the power reform deal which crystallized in the sale of NEPA to private investors has turned out to be the worst exercise in the unbundling process of government parastals. Darkness has not only remained a constant companion of Nigerians but the exploitative billing system by the various distribution companies is as bad as rubbing pepper on injuries.
Here in Benin, there is hardly any week that consumers do not pour into the streets protesting epileptic power supply and the unrealistic billing system.
Civil society Groups youths and landlords have at one time or the other protested what they describe as the pathetic power situation in the country.
All over the country, the various Discos have even in the midst of poor power supply jerked up tariff to a level that is certainly likely to ground businesses.
For example, an organisation in Benin that before December 2014 was paying about N200, 000 (two hundred thousand naira a month) is now being made to pay approximately N500, 000 (five hundred thousand naira) That is outside the compulsory fixed service charge of N40,000.00 (forty thousand naira).
The story is the same in the Eastern part of the country.
Since the completion of the power Sector privatization process by the Federal Government, which saw new distribution companies taking – over electricity distribution across the country, many consumers who thought that they had bade farewell to epileptic power supply, and other associated problems are yet to come to terms with the problem of estimated bills and power outage.
Electricity consumers made up of industrialists recently besieged major street sin Ogbaru, Onitsha and Awka to protest their plight to the authorities of Enugu electricity distribution Company, EEDC. This was even as they (industrialists) alleged that over 7,000 of their workers had been laid-off as a result of poor electricity supply.
However, amid claims and counter claims by the EEDC and its customers, the manufacturers Associations of Nigeria, MAN, has threatened to relocate their business from the south east geopolitical zone if the EEDC failed to reverse the current high tariff in the zone.
In a communiqué issued in Nnewi, Anambra State after a meeting of the association, the members said that they paid an average of N16 million monthly on diesel, wondering how the EEDC came up with its high and unreasonable tariffs.
It read: “we know that the government is a listening one: the federal government should subvert the cost of electricity supply like it did in the petroleum sector to sustain manufacturing operations, so as to create a level playing field for all.
“It is impossible for any business to thrive under this harsh condition of 95 percent increment from 23.97 as old charge to 46.66 percent as new tariff in Enugu zone.
“The payment of fixed charge is akin to payment for inefficiency because all our members run on generator more than electricity, the fixed charge even though it is alleged to encourage investors, is like putting the cart before the horse.
“That no member company should be disconnected until the matter is resolved, and should be allowed to pay the old rate”.
Affected areas were issued with bills during the period.
After the recent protest, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of EEDC, Mr. Robert Dickerman told customers that enumeration aimed at capturing all consumers in the five states being covered by EEDC had begun, adding that once the exercise was completed, the installation of the meters would begin to be completed in the first quarter of this year.