By Henry Umoru & Joseph Erunke
ABUJA – SENATE President, Bukola Saraki, yesterday, advocated strict sanctions against electricity distribution companies,Discos, who fail to live up to the terms of agreements they reached with the Federal Government before commencing operations.
Saraki made the call when the Chairman of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission,NERC, Dr. Sam Amadi, led other members of the Commission on a courtesy visit to the Senate President in Abuja.
He said the National Assembly was eager to see Nigerians enjoy power supply and at the cheapest cost possible.
He said the Senate would ensure that all acts of impunity by Discos are eradicated.
Saraki said: “More importantly, from our own point of view is that how do we ensure that majority of the owners of the Discos keep to some of the agreements or the commitments they made at the time of purchase. Some of them by the time they were buying these assets have committed to certain investments that were going to be done. The question is, are they on schedule and what is the time frame you see for most of these investments to be in place?
“We are both on the same side which is to ensure that the consumers get value for their money. You are those that work directly with them and it is important you bring to our attention what is necessary to ensure that at the end of the day the consumers, the Nigerian people get the best benefit.
The aim at the end of the day is to ensure that every Nigerian get the power and they get it at the cheapest possible cost and those who are responsible for running these units keep to the agreement.
“What we donâ€™t want to see is the impunity where people believe that they can make commitments but not necessarily be held to thosethose commitments and at the end of the day, it is our own people that suffer. Definitely we are going to stamp that out and we are not going to accept that and it is your responsibility to bring that to our notice so that we can be able to address that.
“The most important thing again, which I will keep emphasizing is that we must be able to have sanctions for companies that have made commitments and they are not honouring those commitments. They must be held responsible because generally in our private sector businesses, they always try and cut corners and see what they can get away from and I think that is your own responsibility to ensure that that does not happen”, he said.
Earlier, Amadi told the Senate President, that the Commission was doing all it can to eliminate fixed electricity charges. He also added that one of the factors militating against increased power supply is the weak infrastructure in the country.
Amadi said: “We have mandated Discos to find a way to restructure the fixed charge in a way that they also receive their revenue but in a manner that does not unfairly inconvenience or exploit the consumers.
“Recently in some newspapers, some Discos like Eko have indicated that they are not going to levy fixed charge. Some like Ikeja have said that they are going to cut it by 50 per cent in response to Senate’s concern and the instruction we have given them in that respect.
“Our commitment is to try as much as possible to ensure that any form of pricing is fair to consumers and such that to help us to sustain the improvement in the sector”, the NERC Chief said.