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Electricity: Lagos Assembly Joint Committee Visits DISCOs

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Demands Better Deal For Lagos Residents

The Lagos State House of Assembly has tasked the Electricity Distributing Companies operating within the Lagos territory to be more humane in the discharge of their statutory duties, and ensure that residents of Lagos enjoy considerable power supply within and after the COVID-19 Pandemic period.

This charge was made through a Joint Committee of the House constituted by the Speaker of the House, Rt Hon. Mudashiru Obasa to visit the two Distribution Companies serving the state; EKO and Ikeja Electricity Distribution Companies in order to fine tune means through which people could get power supply, while they comply with the stay at home directives of the government over COVID-19.

The Joint Committee, which comprises House Committee on Energy and Mineral Resources and that of Information, Security and Strategy was headed by Hon. Folajimi Mohammed with the mandate to visit the Distribution Companies (DISCO) in Lagos State.

Hon. Folajimi Mohammed stated that the visit was necessitated by the need to guarantee the comfort of the residents of the state, while observing the stay at home order through steady power supply.

“During the COVID-19 period we have seen that there is an order for a lockdown, and this has caused a lot of discomfort for our constituents. To this end, we were asked to come and visit the DISCOs and find out reasons there had been insufficient supply of electricity to most parts of Lagos State.

“One thing was pertinent about the meeting, which was that the DISCOs had accepted and admitted their flaws. However, we need to look at this holistically that there are different value chains within the sphere of the departments. So, at some point, we can’t necessarily put most of the blame on the DISCOs.

“However, what we have asked them to do is to give us a road map on how they want to ensure they would have more effective distribution to the people.

“I am glad that Ikeja DISCO has honoured the request and they have said that they would appoint people who would directly relate with us at the House of Assembly for onward transfer of information to our constituents.

“We want to appeal to our constituents to be calm this time around. We understand that these are tough times and from the reports we have heard and from what we have been shown, the DISCOs have actually generated almost on the top of their capacity if not more.

“However they still have infrastructure challenges, so we need to understand that without those infrastructure in place they would not be able to do most things.

“So I want to appeal to the people and all our constituents to kindly bear with them as they have been looking at the best way to proffer solutions to this hardship,” he said.

On his part, Chairman of the House Committee on Information, Security and Strategy, Hon. Tunde Braimoh noted after the parley that it was of essence for the general public to protect the available infrastructures as the energy theft is causing people a lot of needless stress.

“Government is about the people, we are not just there for self aggrandisement or grandstanding of being in government, we must be purposefully useful and effective to the people that we serve.

“The supply of electricity power is one of the basic yearnings of our people because electricity remains the most important innovations of humanity in the last one thousand years and nobody can joke with the importance of electricity.

“That is why we have to come out to interact with EKO and Ikeja DISCOs having been inundated with series of complaints about lack of electricity supply, excessive billings, outright disconnection and all of that.

“Also, we need to be more sympathetic or empathetic rather to the plight of the people in this pandemic situation because people cannot go out to work, economic power is low and of course staying at home too should be as comfortable as possible and without electricity that will be a mirage.

“That was why we are out here to interact with the Managing Director of EKO DISCO and we have had a very useful discussion with him.

“He had been able to let us know what efforts they have been doing and I can say by and large that they have been very altruistic and public spirited in their mode of operation. I just need to appeal to our people to understand them because they too have a lot of limitations,” he said.

The state Commissioner for Energy and Mineral Resources, Hon Olalere Odusote, who was present at the parleys, enjoined residents of Lagos to comply with the stay at home order of the government in order to remain safe, while assuring them that all their issues with power supply were being handled seriously by the state government.

“The people should be rest assured that the state government would continue to work with the electricity distribution companies to ensure that their power supply is not adversely affected by any action that the government is taking during the pandemic period, especially on restriction of movement.

“Electricity companies are committed to carrying out their services as they had been doing before the pandemic broke out.

“The Lagos State Government will continue to support the distribution companies. Residents of Lagos are enjoined to stay at home. If you don’t have any essential business outside your home, stay at home because the more you stay the less likely it is that you could contract or be infected with COVID-19.

“I want to urge resident of Lagos not to worry about electricity supply because that is being taken care of as it was before COVID-19 and perhaps even better,” Odusote said.

The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of EKO DISCO, Mr. Adeoye Fadeyibi explained how things are done in the sector, and urged the people to know that they are also with them on the issue at hand.

“I think estimated billing itself is something that is putting pressure on the system as a whole. So, I think one of the things that we have done significantly which you can see is the ramp up metering.

“The MAP initiative has been a good thing and we tried to just increase the number of meters that we install into the system to close the gap.

“Now keeping that in mind, it is also important to state that I have seen that residents of Lagos like to have the right information.

“So, when you look at it and look at our customer base probably more than 80 percent of have been metered already. So, when you look at what we have left, it is to continue to try and get this metering in place and also to get the distribution transformers metering done so that we can account for the energy that we give out.

“The idea of estimated billing, if I understand what the people are saying, is that look I want to pay for the exact energy that I use, which means we need to account for it.

“Aside that, we need to reduce the amount of energy theft that we have in the system so that we don’t bill other people for the energy consumed by another person,” he said.

Also speaking, the Chairman of Ikeja DISCO, Mr Kola Adesina appreciated the fact that the lawmakers thought of the vulnerable and poor masses in the society, while urging the government to concentrate resources on most important projects, which had direct bearing on the lives of the people.

“Seeking solution for life during and after COVID-19 is quite commendable. As an organisation, we quite align with the lawmakers and we would do everything humanly possible to ensure that the people not only have electricity supply, but they have electricity in a steady manner.

“Energy will be made available, but more importantly we would want them to conserve that energy. When you are not using any appliance, please switch it off, that way you preserve the electricity, but if you go beyond what you require and start to use electricity beyond your need, then you are likely to cause system failure, the feeder will trip and you won’t have electricity,” he said.