Electricity distribution companies (DisCos), will not hesitate to clampdown on erring workers as part of efforts to improve efficiency, Executive Director, Research and Advocacy, Association of Energy Distribution Companies (ANED), Mr. Sunday Oduntan, has said.
He said the firms have put workers on their toes with a view to ensure that they desist from acts capable of eroding consumers? confidence.
In an interview with The Nation, Oduntan said ANED, which serves as umbrella body for the eleven DisCos in the country, has started going round the firms to investigate corrupt practices among the employees, adding that the firms have been directed to sack workers that are found guilty.
He said the development became necessary in order to rid the DisCos of bad eggs and further give the sub-sector a new image.
He said there are cases of corrupt workers in many of the firms as evident by the ways and manners they reportedly exploit consumers in the course of connecting their light.
He said some workers collect monies to buy equipment such as meters, transformers, poles and others, from customers, without getting the consent of their employers.
Oduntan said: ?It is a normal thing to blame the problems in the nation?s electricity sector on the three critical value chains namely the generation, transmission and distribution. Of course, each of the segments has its own problems. But what we are saying is that the distribution segment, which comprises of eleven firms, should as a matter of fact, solve their own problem first.
?Firstly, the DisCos must rid themselves of criminally-minded people to be able to win the confidence of customers. Secondly, they need funds to ensure seamless operation. Thirdly, rules need to be enforced in the firms to ensure discipline, honesty and further provide corporate governance standards. When these have been provided, the distribution sector will operate optimally.?
He said activities in the DisCos would pick up once they are able to get enough allocation or supply from the power generation companies (GenCos).
The DisCos, Oduntan said, require sufficient power supply from the GenCos to operate well, stressing that failure to get enough electricity supply has impacted negatively on their operation.
According to him, the bottlenecks hindering operation of power generation companies must be removed by the stakeholders, including the Federal Government in order to get the best services from them.
He said the problems include shortage of gas, funds and collocation, which according to him, means site gas pipelines in areas where they can be easily accessed by the GenCos.
He urged the Federal Government and other stakeholders in the value chain to work together to ensure that DisCos meet the five-year deadline given them by the government to meter their customers, among providing other infrastructural facilities.