By Okunade Adekunle, Lagos
Members of the Lagos State House of Assembly, have implored the National Assembly to expedite action on the passage of the Electricity Reform Act 2018.
They also called on the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola to order Eko and Ikeja Distribution Companies (DISCOs) to face out metering system and provide pre-paid meters to the teeming residents of the state.
This followed a Motion moved by some lawmakers in the Assembly, led by Hon. Tunde Braimoh.
In the Motion, Hon. Tunde Braimoh, representing Kosofe Constituency 2, called on the National Assembly to expedite action on the Electricity Power Reform Act 2018 that criminalises the estimated billing system.
“The House resolves to call on the National Assembly to amend the schedule two of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to allow states and local governments to generate electricity.
“The National Assembly should expedite action on the Electricity Reform Act 2018.
“The house calls on the Minister of Power and the National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to call on Eko and Ikeja DISCOs to desist from taking transformers away from consumers over non payment of bills.
“The Minister and NERC should ensure the distribution of prepaid meters to consumers and the Consumer Protection Agency should ensure that the rights of consumers in Lagos State are protected,” he said.
The Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, emphasised the need for the Federal Government to allow states or local governments that can generate electricity to do so.
Obasa added that concentrating electricity generation in the hands of the Federal Government, when there are no resources to do so is wrong.
He then ordered the Clerk of the House, Mr. Azeez Sanni to write the National Assembly and the Minister of Power, Works and Housing on the resolution of the House on the matter.
In his comment, Hon. Bisi Yusuff (Alimosho 1) stated that crisis over electricity issue is a daily occurrence in Lagos State, and that it usually leads to violence between officials of DISCOs and the consumers.
Yusuff said that officials of DISCOs usually remove transformers and that they would not replace them for six months, while they still bring bills for such months.
He condemned a situation where consumers buy transformers, which later become those of DISCOs.
This was corroborated by Hon. Rotimi Olowo (Shomolu 1), who said that the issues started occurring when the DISCOs took over.
Olowo explained further, “What is generated cannot be transmitted because we don’t have the facilities for transmission.
“We should call on the Minister of Power to make critical analysis of these companies. The DISCOs don’t have the financial muscle to provide power for the people.
“We need to overhaul the electric service providers since they don’t have enough financial requirement, and their monopoly gesture has made life unbearable for our people,” he said.
The Deputy Majority Leader, Hon. Olumuyiwa Jimoh (Apapa 2) said, “It is a constitutional provision that the National Assembly should pass the amendment before it is signed by the president.”
Jimoh added that the Minister of Power has said that Nigerians should not pay the DISCOs until they provide prepaid meters.
He added, “We should ensure that the metering system should be done away with and our people should have access to prepaid meter.”
In his comments, Hon. Gbolahan Yishawu (Eti Osa 2) urged the assembly to call on the Consumer Protection Agency to push for the rights of the consumers on the issue.