Government to pay for free electricity for consumers, say DisCos

* Energy to be supplied for two months not free ─ANED

* Expect further instructions on implementation
Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect
Though not completely free, the Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors (ANED) says the Federal Government will pay for the two-month free electricity supply for consumers, an arrangement which the Association made with the Government recently.

ConsumerConnect recalls that ANED, the umbrella body of all the electricity distribution companies, in an earlier statement, had noted that it recognised the challenging effects of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) on the economic and daily life of power consumers in the economy.

According to ANED, decision is in fulfilment of its commitment to the nation by aligning itself with the efforts of the National Assembly (NASS) and the Federal Executive at mitigating the hardships that are currently being borne by consumers and other citizens all over the country.

The statement followed a proposal by the House of Representatives’ plan to consider a fresh Stimulus Bill that will allow Nigerians to enjoy electricity supply for two months without any charge.

Barr. Sunday Oduntan, ANED Executive Director, Research and Advocacy, and Spokesman for all DisCos, however, told The Nation that despite their support for whatever the NASS and the Federal Government do to ameliorate the sufferings of Nigerians during this period, there is a need to make certain clarifications.

Oduntan said: “The energy to be supplied for the two months is not free from the DisCos but is being paid for by the Federal Government, in partnership with the National Assembly.

“As such, the ability for the DisCos to go forward is subject to the stimulus package being passed by the National Assembly and signed into law by Mr. President.

“While this palliative seeks to mitigate the economic challenges that Nigerians are being subjected to during this COVID-19 period, it is our hope that we not lose sight of the no-cost reflective tariff challenges that the DisCos continue to suffer under.

“Regardless, we laud Mr. President, members of his government and the National Assembly for this initiative.”

On when the free electricity supply will start, Oduntan said “there is no date yet.

“We are awaiting directives of the Federal Government.”

Meanwhile, the Management of Ikeja Electric Plc has said it fully supports the ongoing efforts of the National Assembly, in collaboration with the Federal Government, to consider a proposal on the possibility of providing free electricity for two months as part of COVID-19 palliative for customers.

It should be noted that at present, it is only a proposal and is still undergoing stakeholder reviews on its feasibility.

It has not been approved by the Federal Government as a stimulus package or palliative.

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