BY: Obioma C. Appolos
General Secretary to the Nigerian Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE), Mr. Joe Ajaero, has said that many Nigerians have been driven out of their small scale businesses, because they can not pay the current estimated electricity bill as a result of the inability of the companies to supply prepaid meters to consumers.
While he called on the DISCOS to as a matter of urgency made prepaid meters available for all consumers, he also told them that it is an act of exploitation to sell electricity in the country without meter.
Ajaero, who said this at a workshop organised by the NUEE for state and chapters officials on 12 February, 2019 in Abuja, Went on to say that “electricity in the first place wasn’t meant to be sold without measurement”, which he said is “meter”.
“You cannot tell me to pay N20, 000 at the end of the month as my bill for electricity without any kind of measurement in terms of consumption hours that I used within the period. It is wrong and unlawful.”
“Without prepaid meter, it is a kind of exploitation to sale electricity. I am calling on the Federal Government to have a re-think in that direction to ensure that the meters are made available for all.” He added.
While he said that estimated billing in the power sector has done Nigerians more harm than good, Ajaero, who is also the President of the United Labour Congress (ULC) , added that privatization has also killed the power sector. And has equally affected the citizens and economy negatively.
Expressing displeasure, Ajaero further said: “Privatisation has not done any good to this country but rather it has created more problems especially in the power sector. Till date, Nigerians are yet to see efficient service delivery.
“It has effected the poor and it has made them poorer on daily basis. There are a lot of flaws in the privatisation process and I am saying that the political class have conspired to share what really belong to Nigerians. It has really impoverish Nigerians in many ways which include how the PHCN was sold for 400 billion, and how government have spend over a trillion in the name of subsidies or grant as at today.
“This I do not understand and I am saying that the power situation have not changed and has not improved, yet the tariffs have increased tremendously.”
Meanwhile, Mr Martins Uzoegwu, NUEE President, explain that the workshop was organised to address some major challenges faced by members of the union in the 36 states of the federation.
“The workshop is to enlightened the state and chapters official on how to address grievances confronting them and also how to communicate to through the right channel in achieving their goals and objectives.” He said.
While Joseph Adeneyi, Senior Manager, Human Resources Operation, Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) pledged to continue to partner with the Union for peace and progress of the union. Mr Felix Olisedeme, of Apo AEDC, and a NUEE branch chairman, said the workshop was timely. Saying; “This is because, we are preparing for our forthcoming union branches election and this training is coming at a time when many of our members are feeling the union is not doing enough, as even their grievances are not being addressed.”