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Why we take over transformers donated by communities: DisCos

The Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors (ANED) says Electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) assume ownership of equipment donated by consumers to ensure public safety.

In a statement issued in Abuja on Monday by ANED’s executive director for research and advocacy, Sunday Oduntan, said DisCos assumed ownership of donated equipment because of “indemnity and protection.”

“After installation, DisCos have to take steps to protect such equipment so that it will be safe for use by customers. We have had occasions when some transformers that were installed in the days of (the) Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) caused electrocution,” Mr Oduntan explained. “We need to protect the equipment and ensure that access is only granted to qualified personnel. People have lost their lives because they were trying to maintain their transformers.”

He noted that the DisCos usually took responsibility for any incident that happened with such donated equipment.

According to him, Nigerians need to understand that DisCos are responsible for ensuring that only good quality equipment duly certified by Nigerian Electricity Management and Safety Agency (NEMSA) are installed in their networks.

“This is why we ask customers to write a letter of donation to the DisCos,” Mr Oduntan added. “If the items do not belong to the DisSos, they cannot exercise any right over the use of the items. Neither should they bear liability for any incident that occurs thereafter.”

Mr Oduntan also mentioned that since privatisation in 2013, ANED members had invested in improvements in their networks.

“It is understandable when a community of customers decides to step in rather than take the option of waiting till resources needed to service their needs are provided by their respective DisCo,” he noted. “The issue of community volunteering is very clearly stipulated by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).”

Mr Oduntan explained that disconnection was a legitimate recourse available to service providers under certain conditions, and the reconnection fee was a penalty to dissuade offenders from committing the offence again.

“Disconnections are not random, and there are clear guidelines stipulated by NERC under which disconnections can take place. Disconnections can occur when a customer owes accumulated bills for over 90 days,” he stated. “Other grounds for disconnection include when a customer is found engaging in energy theft or tampering with distribution equipment.”

Mr Oduntan said it was statutory to charge a fee to cover the operations and deter offenders.

(NAN)

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