FG permits DISCOs to disconnect indebted agencies

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AGF to deduct debts from source


THE Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, has granted distribution companies, DISCOs, the liberty to disconnect government agencies which failed to pay their bills.
The Chairman of NERC, Dr. Sam Amadi, stated this after the meeting of the operators of the Nigeria Electricity Supply Industry, NESI in Abuja. He also revealed that circulars have been issued to the Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs in 2012, on the need to pay their electricity bills as at when due.

He said, “The federal government has already issued a circular in 2012 that every government agency should pay their bills as provided in their budget and the accountant general is being mandated by that circular to deduct from source if after 90 days that agency has not paid its bill.

“We want to restate that even with the DISCOs, we have communicated to them the President’s directive that they should provide meters to all government agencies. We also want to restate that because we are a new market every agency or customer  be it public or private, will be cut off after due process because we want to make sure that the suppliers of electricity services have enough revenue to continue to supply those services.

“So we want to appeal to consumers, private of public entities to pay their bills on time. Even as we are working hard to ensure that all forms of energy theft and tempering will be punished drastically, we cannot talk about improvement in this sector except we are prepared to play by rules.”

Noting that the DISCOs could cut off supply after following laid down procedures, Amadi added that the circular mandated the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, AGF, to deduct defaulting agency’s debts from the source after three months.

He recalled that President Goodluck Jonathan had last year directed government offices to pay up the electricity bills, noting that with the private sector now in charge of the sector, government agencies and offices could no longer enjoy the privileges they were used to.”

He said, “Now, if the DISCO goes through that process they will be at liberty to cut off that consumer and NERC will sanction that such consumer should be so disconnected. And because there are some of these consumers that are in strategic sectors what we are saying is that they should now recognise this change in the power sector and they should put in place mechanisms for paying their bills as at when due.


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