Distribution Companies (DisCos) have said that they take ownership of electricity infrastructure purchased by individuals and communities in order to ensure subsequent repairs and safety of equipment.
The Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors (ANED), which disclosed, in Abuja, said since the DisCos take responsibility for any incident that happens to those infrastructure, there was need for indemnity and safety.
“It is important for Nigerians to understand that Discos have a responsibility to ensure that only good quality equipment duly certified by Nigerian Electricity Management and Safety Agency (NEMSA) are installed in our network,” spokesperson for the association, Sunday Oduntan said.
According to him, the equipment after being installed needed to be fully protected by the utility companies.
Oduntan said there have been occasions where transformers that were installed in the days of PHCN, for instance in Lugbe, Abuja, caused electrocution, stressing that there was need for protection, ensuring that access is only granted to qualified personnel.
“People have lost their lives because they were trying to maintain their transformers. This is why we ask customers to write a letter of donation to the DisCos. If the items do not belong to the DisCos, they cannot exercise any right over the use of the items, nor should they bear liability for any incident that occurs thereafter,” he noted.
He noted that it remained the responsibility of the DisCos to make electricity infrastructure available, adding however that in situations where the demand is far more than supply due to shortage of funds, customers do step in to help their communities.
“Since privatisation, our members have invested considerably on improvements in their networks since 2013.
“However, in a reality where the absence of infrastructure was excruciatingly acute across the length and breadth of this country before this phase of our power reforms, and considering the huge cost of revamping inherited networks as well as the very critical need for power supply for homes and businesses, it is understandable when communities of customers decide to step in rather than take the option of waiting till resources needed to service their needs are appropriated by their respective Discos.
“The issue of community volunteering is very clearly stipulated by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC). For those who follow NERC’s laid guidelines, there will be no argument at the end of the day,” Oduntan said.
He also said accusations surrounding disconnections and reconnection fees charged by Discos were unfair, saying disconnection is a legitimate recourse available to the service providers under certain conditions and the reconnection fee is a penalty to dissuade repeat offenders and cover cost,” Oduntan said.