FG threatens to sack Discos over poor service delivery
By Adewale Sanyaolu
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, has told power distribution firms across the country to improve on their service delivery or be ready to quit the sector.
Fashola handed down the warning at the 11th monthly Power Sector and Stakeholders Meeting held in Lagos yesterday.
“We all know the issues around metering and billing. We must build that trust and confidence that customers complains will be addressed. Without the customers and the consumers, there is no business and I think that all of us in the public and private sector must understand that. If you don’t have the skin and the patience to serve, leave,” he warned.
He said stakeholders must use this year to tell their workers that without the customers, they don’t have a job, adding that if they are not in a good mood, they don’t pick the telephone.
“As a public appeal, we need to do whatever is possible in our various distribution areas to improve the quality of service, train personnel, recognise that the customer is king. And even if we cannot provide or solve the problem, we owe it a duty to explain what we are doing.
“It is a thankless job. I am conscious of the challenges operators in the sector face. My team and I are working as hard as we can to make the environment more conducive to you and as I have always said that as pioneers, you will carry some burden.
“You will have to sacrifice perhaps more than what you have done but I am optimistic that it will get better. I am optimistic that we can win together and we can win for the Nigerian people,’’ he assured.
On liquidity constraints, the Minister assured that government was working with development, local and international partners, who have shown commitments and inspiring appetite to play in the market in a bid to stem the tide of funding.
‘‘Our partners in government are also inspiring and understanding of what the challenges are. So it is quick decision making now. Collaboration and decisions will be fair but firm and we expect people would respect the decisions and also processes to be introduced along the line.
“These are matters the regulator, Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Agency (NERC), will have to deal with, the bulk trader, Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading (NBET) which is in-house, Ministry of Finance, and Ministry of Petroleum in terms of gas and all other players will dovetail into one another.
I think the owners of this business must look inside and do what is possible. We have spoken about undercover boss here before. Go round and ask your consumers what they are facing and this will inform your management decision on what to do,” he advised
Earlier in his welcome address, the Managing Director, Ikeja Electric, Mr. Anthony Youdeiwoe, stated that 2016 was a challenging year for stakeholders, stressing that the challenges still remain, but are better discussed whenever stakeholders meet in a bid to address them and proffer solutions.