DisCos, Government agree on 2-month free electricity for consumers

* Set to unveil details of implementation soon

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect
In view of the prevailing grim socio-economic situation resulting from the wide-ranging impacts of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on Nigerians, the Electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) have aligned with the Federal Government’s proposal to provide a two-month rebate of free electricity to power consumers nationwide.

ConsumerConnect learnt that Barrister Sunday Oduntan, Executive Director, Research and Advocacy at the Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors (ANED), in a statement Wednesday, April 8, stated that the decision is in recognition of the challenging effects of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) on the economic and daily lives of the customers.

Barrister Oduntan, who doubles as the Spokesman for the DisCos, said: “We are also completely aligned with the plans to ensure palliative measures, including free electricity supply to all Nigerians for two months.”

He explained that the rationale for this decision is “to make life easier, during the lockdown period. Details of implementation to come soon.”

Oduntan also said the initiative is a fulfilment of the DisCos’ commitment to Nigeria, as they align themselves with the efforts of the National Assembly (NASS) and the Federal Executive to mitigate the hardships that are currently being borne by electricity consumers and Nigerians at large.

Meanwhile, the electricity Distribution Companies have applauded the legislators, the Federal Government and Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) for their initiative.

They further pledged their commitment to working with them to ensure more efficient power supply within and beyond the difficult period of COVID-19 lockdown.

The power firms restated their obligation to improve service delivery to electricity consumers during this COVID-19 pandemic period and thereafter as they advised their customers to stay at home and stay safe.

It is recalled that the Nigerian House of Representatives in Abuja, FCT, Wednesday, April 1 had considered and urged DisCos to supply free electricity to Nigerians for two months as part of measures to mitigate the effects of the dreadful COVID-19 pandemic.

Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, Speaker, House of Representatives, made the call at a meeting between the NASS leadership and Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, Honourable Minister for Finance, Budget and National Planning, and Mr. Ben Akabueze, Director-General, Budget Office of the Federation, among others.

Gbajabiamila emphasised the need for an all-inclusive relief package for Nigerians arising from the effects of the COVID-19 crisis.

“I’m looking forward to a robust package, that will include succour to the Nigerian people, that is the issue of electricity, just for two months,” said Speaker of the House of Representatives in a statement by Lanre Lasisi, his Spokesman.

He noted that the most effective means of alleviating the financial burden of the stay-at-home order to prevent the spread of the virus is for the Federal Government to give a 100 per cent waiver on the electricity consumed by every household in the country.

Other members of the Executive in attendance include Timipre Sylva, Minister of State for Petroleum; Mr. Godwin Emefiele, Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN); Mele Kyari, Group Managing Director (GMD) of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), and others on the update of the COVID-19 interventions.

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