According to the Discos, a survey of customers’ compliance with settling their electricity bills, which was conducted by the Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors, shows that power consumers across the country exhibit the same attitudinal pattern.
This revelation by the Discos was made following claims by some electricity consumer advocacy groups that the power firms were not doing enough in the area of collection of revenue from all their consumers.
Reacting to claims that the Discos were not collecting revenues from more than 50 per cent of their total customers and that this was why they hardly made profits, the Executive Director, ANED, Mr. Sunday Oduntan, argued that the statement was incorrect, stressing that power consumers paid less than 40 per cent of their electricity bills.
He said, “As the spokesperson for the distributors, I was the one who announced that Nigerians were paying less than 40 per cent of their actual bills. And this announcement was made after meticulous survey and analysis by the electricity distributors. We found out that there was a culture of non-payment of bills across the nation.
“I’ve toured all the 11 Discos and I see the same pattern across board in terms of our peoples’ attitude with respect to the payment of electricity bills. You give a bill of N5,000 and they’ll pay N2,000 and will tell you they will clear it next time. In the next month, another bill will come and they’ll pay N2,000 again, and will be having arrears of N6,000. This is how it will continue to pile up.”
The Assistant National Secretary, Nigerian Electricity Consumer Advocacy Network, Mr. Obong Eko, told our correspondent that the Discos were not collecting bills from more than 50 per cent of their total customers, a development that was adversely impacting on their revenue.
But the ANED director maintained that the Discos were doing their best and that some of the losses they incurred were due to electricity theft by some consumers.
Oduntan said, “The other aspect is that our people should know that it is in our interest to collect as much revenue as possible. We are not just crying wolf. We have commercial and collection losses. There are people who steal electricity without us knowing and their neighbours know this but fail to report because they feel it is our job.
“Yes, it is our job, but there are a lot of things we cannot know at the same time. So, what I’m going to say with respect to such claims is that we are doing our best in terms of revenue collection. I heard on a programme sometime ago when a consumer advocacy group said we didn’t go to the big men; that is not true. It is a total misrepresentation.”