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Phcn And Their Abuses - Politics - Nairaland

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Phcn And Their Abuses by austinkenneth: 1:28pm On Jun 27, 2013
I’m amazed that in this country where we have numerous journalists and human rights activists, there is almost no coverage about the abuses of PHCN on its customers.
To connect your building to the power grid you buy poles and cables and install them, and they become PHCN’s property.
If you do not have a meter, they’ll give you an outrageous bill (N>20,000 per flat per month in Lekki Lagos)
If you want to get a prepaid meter in order to escape the estimated billing you pay N55,000 (official price) which I think is too much if you actually take into account what the meter does – recording the amount of electricity consumed which is not more complex than a basic mobile phone.
But then if you pay the N55,000 they meter will NEVER be delivered unless you follow it up with about N30,000 to grease they palm of those who will facilitate it for you.
After paying all that, the meter will become PHCN’s property. While using the prepaid meter, a monthly N1,000 maintenance fee is charged in addition to normal fees whether you consume power or not. This fee has been cancelled but it is still being charged (at least in Lekki area)
If the meter ‘which is now their property’ goes bad they’ll tell you it cannot be repaired and that you’ll have to get a new one which will still become their property and then you’ll be placed on the estimated billing (N>20,000 per flat per month in Lekki).
To escape from the estimated billing you’ll have to get a new meter (N55,000 +N30000) and it’ll still become their property and they’ll charge you for its maintenance.
As for transformers, If you need a transformer and you’re hoping they’ll give you because afterall you pay the for the light you consume, then you’re on a long thing.
You go out of your way to buy the transformer yourself (N2m) but PHCN must do the installation and to do that they’ll take about N2m (still lekki). Then it becomes their property. If anything goes bad on the transformer you’re on your own. They don’t care but it is their property.
Re: Phcn And Their Abuses by austinkenneth: 1:32pm On Jun 27, 2013
Containing the PHCN leviathan
May 21, 2013 by Lekan Sote (lekansote@yahoo.com)

Which do you pay to the Power (wit)Holding Company of Nigeria? Is it the amount you charged to your prepaid meter, the outcome of actual reading of your postpaid meter, or the estimate arbitrarily apportioned to you by the PHCN because you have no prepaid or postpaid meter? In other words, do you subscribe to, or pay a rate or a levy to the PHCN?

In yet another danfo (Kombi) bus ride in the Lagos Metropolis, talk gravitated to the billing regime of the PHCN. It was late in the evening. The inner light of the bus kept flickering off and on, and someone had difficulties ascertaining the exact denomination of the naira note that he was pulling out of his pocket. He didn’t want to overpay the bus conductor. He then asked, in derision, “Oga Driver. Why the light for your bus no dey light well, well?” He stirred the hornet’s nest. The driver retorted, “Sebi you no kuku get light for your house.” Everyone laughed. Thereafter, a playful banter ensued between the team of the ebullient driver and the conductor on the one hand, and the passengers on the other hand. A man asserted that the “crazy bill” was a ploy by the PHCN staff to extort money from the public. People wanted to know how, so he gave the following explanation:

For about one year, his electricity bill had been increasing by the double every subsequent month. So, he went to complain to the PHCN. He told them he had only 10 bulb points, three fans and a table top fridge, in his apartment. No television, radio or freezer. Nothing else. Someone went to verify his claim. He was then asked to write a petition for a bill review, and an application for a prepaid meter. His house had no meter. After two months, the bill got higher and no prepaid, or any kind of, meter was brought to him. Alarmed, he went to the PHCN office to complain. Someone called him aside and explained that there is an embargo on distribution of prepaid meters, and he should get used to the estimated bill regime. He explained that the Transmission Company of Nigeria expects the distribution companies, or discos, to pay for megawatts of electricity that it arbitrarily allocates to them without regard to their need. After deducting the amount paid by those who topped up their prepaid meters, and those whose postpaid meters were actually read, the disco shared out the balance as levy to those who have no meter. The PHCN man then whispered a proposition. If the sucker was willing to play ball, his monthly bill could be reduced drastically in the short run, and he could get a prepaid meter later. He wanted to know from his fellow wayfarers if he should go for the deal. The overwhelming verdict was that he should go for it, and end his agonies.

Clearly, no one thought of an electricity consumer advocacy group to contain the wanton arbitrariness and abuse. The PHCN monopoly is so pervasive, people no longer bother about getting electricity supply. Their concern is how to contain its crazy bills that come even after their postpaid meters had been disconnected. They have figured out that the prepaid meter helps them avoid unnecessary billing, especially when they still have to endure the “one day on, one day off” electricity supply regime. Prepaid meter has advantages for both the PHCN and the consumers: The PHCN collects its money in advance, and the consumers control their electricity bills and also avoid the debt nuisance. The Minister for Trade and Investment, Mr. Segun Aganga, swears that proper metering should ensure proper inspection, verification and certification of billing systems beyond the electricity sector, to the water, petroleum and telecommunications sectors, of the economy. All together are currently losing about N775bn monthly. The mess in the electricity sector is graphically demonstrated by the fictitious Electricity Corporation of Kangan in Chinua Achebe’s novel, “Anthills of the Savannah.” Its operatives engage in “chaotic billing procedures deliberately done to cover their massive fraud; illegal connections carried out by their own staff; theft of meters; and a host of other petty and serious crimes including, if you please, the readiness, at the end of the day, to burn down the entire Accounts and Auditing Departments if any enquiry should ever be mooted.”

When the Federal Government introduced the prepaid meters in 2003, it had set a 16 to 18 months completion target for the installation. But it was not to be. After discovering, in 2011, that only about 30 per cent of consumers had received prepaid meters, government gave a N2.9bn subsidy to accelerate the supply and installation. But a Panel, set up by the National Electricity Regulatory Commission, and led by civil rights activist and Lagos attorney, Mr. Bamidele Aturu, discovered that the funds had been misapplied. In addition, the prepaid meters were sitting pretty in PHCN stores. The employees simply refused to release them– maybe they are waiting for Godot. Someone suggests that they are kept until the new investors come in. But, why? This sounds like sabotage. If it is true that the Babangida administration ever promulgated a decree against sabotage of electricity supply, now is the time to apply it.

The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission must give clear guidelines about the prepaid meters. No one is sure any more if the meters should be supplied free by the PHCN or not. The NERC had announced that from June 1, 2012, prepaid meters would be given free to customers ahead of the Multi-Year-Tariff-Order. But the PHCN has a backdoor scheme, CAPMI, an acronym whose meaning is unknown. If a willing customer pays into a dedicated account jointly managed by the discos and the vendor or installers, a prepaid meter will be installed for that fellow within 45 days! Would the levy be charged to future electricity bills as suggested by the Managing Director of one of the discos? A PHCN official announced that the Abuja Zonal Office had installed about 232,466 pre-paid meters free to consumers. Who determines if consumers have to pay for the pre-paid meters? NERC, PHCN or PHCN employees? But really, the meters ought to be supplied free because the law says they remain the property of the PHCN.

Apart from this unfinished business of pre-paid meters, there are some other niggling issues: It is common knowledge that some PHCN employees sometimes compel customers to pay for electric poles and transformers, even when contractors have been paid to supply them, and the equipment still remain properties of the PHCN. Also, many who got pre-paid meters, in Kano State, complained recently that they read faster than the analogue meter. Yet, a PHCN official insists that the unit meter reading, Meter Maintenance Fee and Fixed Charges are still N6, N100 and N500 respectively for three-phase meters; and those of single-phase meter remains N4, N30 and N120 respectively. Who can verify this? The Aturu Panel said something about confusion in the calibration of the Meter Maintenance Fee, VAT and other miscellaneous fees, that are loaded on the pre-paid meter recharge cards. Both NERC and the PHCN need to unravel the mystery of the voodoo metering. But isn’t it time for a consumer advocacy group to come to the aid of defenceless electricity consumers caught in the fangs of the predatory PHCN leviathan?

Re: Phcn And Their Abuses by Pretty4ril: 1:50pm On Jun 27, 2013
Honestly this is so annoying and bad.It hurts to see how corruption is eaten deeper and deeper into this country each and everyday. People don't use their conscience anymore in d name of money. They 're so corrupt that they don't care about how people feel. They charge me as much as 15k a month just a flat. We need help in this country.

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