By; IYOKPO J. EGBODO, Abuja
Members of the House of Representatives were on Tuesday angry as they debated the general principles of a Bill seeking to halt the use of estimated electricity billing for electricity consumers in the country
The Bill was intended to amend the Electricity Sector Reform Act, and will if passed into law make it a criminal offense for a deliberate refusal of any of the Electricity Distribution Companies (DISCOs), to provide prepay metres to customers on request within 30 days.
Majority Leader of the House, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila described the use of estimated billing for electricity consumers in Nigeria as a modernized scam, employed by the Distribution Companies (DISCOs) against helpless citizens.
Gbajabiamila while leading debate on the general principles of the Bill he personally sponsored to prohibit the use of estimated electricity tariffs, which scaled second reading yesterday, said by the practice, consumers have been held to ransom, “and exploited on a monthly basis”.
Speaker of the House, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, in a remark also gave his personal experience, as his village house which in most of the time not occupied, was usually given N80,000 monthly estimated bill for supply, until he had to request that it be disconnected.
Deputy Majority Whip, Hon, Pally Iriase also in his contribution said “today, we are under serious oppression, disclosing that his community in Edo State and surrounding villages have been cut off from the national grid, just for opposing the use of the exploitative estimated billing, which the poor villagers could not afford.
Many more members spoke in support of the proposed amendment, before the Bill was referred to the Committee on Power, after it scaled second reading.