Kogi Assembly summons PHCN Manager over alleged exploitation of consumers

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Kogi House of Assembly on Thursday summoned the Lokoja Business Manager of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) over what it called incessant exploitation of electricity consumers in the state.
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The house issued the summon in a resolution following the adoption of a motion of Urgent Public Importance moved by Alhaji Suleiman Babadoko (PDP-Lokoja 1) urging PHCN to stop the exploitation.

He said: “We support with no reservation, the unbundling of PHCN vis-à-vis the privatization of key structures in the power generation, transmission and distribution in Nigeria. We believe this is the way forward for our dear country.”

According to him, the resulting exploitation of consumers, in the name of maintenance service charge or fixed charge and unreasonable estimated billings, causing so many families untold pains should not be treated with levity.

Babadoko said the PHCN had defied warnings by the Nigeria Electricity Regulation Commission (NERC) for them to read meters and charge consumers accordingly rather than estimating bills to meet their revenue targets.

“We are aware that in spite of warnings by the NERC that meters must be read and electricity customers be charged accordingly, the electricity distribution companies have continued to slam over estimated bills on consumers.

A situation where consumers pay for meters, cables and poles for connection, only to be confronted with high estimated bills in addition to maintenance charges, VAT charges and connection fees, he said, was too much for the consumers.

Seconding the motion, Majority Leader of the house, Alhaji Yakubu Yunusa urged the distribution companies (DISCOs) not to frustrate the good intentions of the Federal Government in the power sector reforms.

Yunusa noted that in view of the security challenges in the country, there was need to summon the PHCN manager for an amicable resolution to avoid street protests by consumers in the bid to fight the illegal charges.

Engr Yori Afolabi, Minority Leader of the house in his contribution said; “The activities of the PHCN can be likened to armed robbery. They force people to pay for what they did not consume. It is inhuman, illegal and ungodly.”

The speaker, Alhaji Momoh-Jimoh Lawal directed the Clerk of the house to officially summon the Business Manager for clarification of issues and possible solutions.