Abuja Electricity Distribution Company Must Respond to Paying Customers of Apo Resettlement

Abuja Electricity Distribution Company Must Respond to Paying Customers of Apo Resettlement
April 07 23:41 2016

By Moses Okpogode

[I]n the last fortnight, I have not been able to lay my hands on what to write about that’s not been written. Besides I have been busy too, attending to other matters, both official and on the home front, as I read a number of columnists, public affairs commentators and analysts who have been able to capture the salient points that need to be addressed by this administration. They have taken turns to address the cluelessness, derelictions to duties and the ineptitude that have always pervaded governance and governments in Nigeria. Their inability to provide essential social services to the citizenry in form of quick fixes in the short term and more lasting solutions for the long term.

And what exactly was I to write about that hasn’t been written? Is it the fuel queues that now form rings from aerial views and the associated pollution that the emission of gases is causing over such clusters of cars in filling stations? Or the unquenched taste for blood by Fulani herdsmen? Could I have written about the incomplete and rejected 2016 budget passed by the National Assembly or the call for true federalism and democratization of the nation’s economy to get moribund states and their governors cracking on avenues of creating viable economic opportunities for their citizens?

I should have probably discussed the effects of rising inflation and the collapse of the naira against the dollars and other foreign currencies or the pains that parents, who don’t have assets to sell, are going through as they strive to keep their wards in schools abroad since those in the country have become archaic, dilapidated and ill-equipped to provide an education fitting for the challenges of the 21st century.

But then again, maybe I have been overwhelmed by the issues of pipeline vandalism and the political criminality that necessitated the construction of power generation plants in regions far away from where gas is in surplus supply just to appease a few without considering the economic and logistic case. Not to mention the sabotage occasioned by insecurity. If the builders had even thought it wise to hire the Israelis who are well known for securing networks of pipelines maybe incidents of vandalism would have been averted and a lot of money saved by the federal government. Nigerians would have also be talking less about vandalization of the pipelines and the attendant power shortages at this time. But no one attended to them all these while.

I will also not bore you with the cleaning of the Augean stables right now as even while the cleaning is ongoing, some government agencies are still neck deep in creating uglier dirts with reports substantiating the non remittance of over 814 billion naira to the federation account by the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation in the six months through December of 2015. I believe the state governors know how to handle such issues as non remittances affects their monthly allocations from FAAC

There was no way I was also going to dissipate my energy on discussing the serial cases of armed robbery, banditry, pillaging, reported and unreported incidences of burglary all over adjoining settlements in the Abuja area, making a mockery of security and safety campaigns in the FCT. I didn’t also say nothing has been said about the influx of street urchins, tout activities and thuggery in the Abuja city centre or on the destruction of road shoulders by commuter vehicle operators who have harnessed to themselves portions of the Abuja metropolis, serving as their loading parks and bays. No one can make me delve into their activities that are now deconstructing the roads constructed with oil resources that are now scarce and are also in short supply.

However what had not been talked about is the inglorious audacity on display by officials of the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company who have made life so bearable for me, my family and residents of Zone E, in the Apo Resettlement Area, and other residents in different parts of Abuja. Due to blackouts, it will be folly to stock perishables and other food items in our refrigerators. We have been unable to pump waters from our boreholes just the same way sleep has eluded us in the heat of the season. Our children’s faces, neck and bodies have been ravaged by heat rashes, with increasing cases of dehydration over a situation that is without an immediate solution. Nowadays, it’s perpetually dark all nights..

It is so depressing and absolutely appalling that despite AEDC’s estimated revenue of over 1.5 billon naira on fixed charges alone, and another estimated 12 billion naira being the regular monthly revenue from an average of N8000 bill per household, the AEDC has not seem and deemed it fit or necessary to replace or repair the transformer servicing my area in the past months.

They have also not satisfactorily responded to several calls to the company’s customer service center. Even visits with officials of the company by emissaries of residents of the area have failed to yield any action to rectify the problem thereby cutting us off from electricity grid for several days as a result of the general poor power generation and national transmission shortages.

This is not acceptable. It calls for caution and immediate action as the days of usurping the masses of their rights are over with the privatization of power distribution in the country. AEDC has no options but to sit up and provide basic electricity distribution services effectively to customers within its coverage area. It is disheartening to see residents of an area in this era of change, chasing after AEDC technicians to restart a transformer suffering overloads despite several feed backs to management from the field officers about the problem affecting just a single transformer that supplies electricity to around 40 homes.

The actions and inactions of AEDC management and staff have shown that they are not in tandem with President Muhammadu Buhari administration’s change mantra and if so, there is need for them to be reprimanded if they can’t fix the transformer as a matter of urgency.

Just as I was about to conclude this piece my March bill arrived and was up by over 300 percent tariff increment without corresponding electricity. I’m already off to lay my complaint before the Acting Chairman, Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission.