The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has appealed to the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, to prevail on Electricity Distribution Companies (DISCOs) to provide pre-paid meters to Nigerians.
An open letter by Adetokunbo Mumuni, Executive Director of SERAP, in Abuja on Tuesday, stated that SERAP wanted the minster to intervene on estimated billing system in the country.
Mumuni said that the use of estimated billings was marginalising Nigerians living in extreme poverty.
This, he said, made women, children and the elderly vulnerable to discrimination.
“Excessive billing of customers is arbitrary, unfair, unjust, unreasonable and exploitative of millions of socially and economically vulnerable groups.
“SERAP is concerned that the apparent failure to exercise due diligence and effective regulatory oversight on DISCOs to ensure full compliance with directives to provide free pre-paid meters to Nigerians has denied millions of customers regular and uninterrupted access to electricity.“
According to him: “It’s the responsibility of the government and the ministry to ensure that the privatisation of the power sector does not impair in access to regular and uninterrupted electricity supply to Nigerians.”
He said that Nigerians should not be penalised through disconnection or denial of access to electricity because they cannot pay unwarranted estimated bills.
“in spite of several directives and deadlines by both your office and the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission for DISCOs to provide free pre-paid meters to customers, our information reveals that millions of electricity users across the country remain un-metered.”
He said that SERAP was concerned that the diminished power infrastructure and the ministry’s inability to enforce regulations on provision of pre-paid meters to Nigerians means that millions of customers would continue to be exploited.
He said that access to regular electricity supply was a prerequisite for satisfying basic human needs, improve living standards, maintain good human health, alleviate poverty and facilitate sustainable development.
He called on the ministry to act swiftly to enforce the regulations on the provision of free pre-paid meters to Nigerians and end the use of estimated billing across the country.