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How Electricity Consumers In Abuja, Environs Pay To Replace AEDC Equipment

In December 2013, residents of Angwanboro area of Gauraka town started contributing money towards the acquisition of a new electricity transformer in the community.

Gauraka is under Tafa Local Government Area of Niger State and a few minutes drive from Zuma Rock. People of the community had informed the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) earlier of a bad transformer that stopped working due to overloading. Each family head in the community was asked to pay the sum of N8,000 to acquire and install a new transformer. Pastor Oluwasegun Oyelakin showed New National Star the receipts of his payment made in 2013. Two years later, in June 2015, a part of this community wrote a letter to the AEDC requesting for a new transformer. Because the one acquired in 2013 constantly breakdown as a result of overloading occasioned by the fast growth of the community.

Oyelakin, had become Chairman of homeowners association in the community, in a letter addressed to AEDC which received and acknowledged by the DisCo (received at 10:38am on June 23, 2015) read in parts that “we have a problem in our area concerning light, formerly when the community was small, we had a transformer which later packed up due to the growth of the community. “We are appealing to the management of AEDC to come to our aid to assist and give us another transformer.

The community has over 2,200 houses.” As a follow-up to the initial letter to AEDC which was yet to get an official response, another was sent to the electricity distribution company dated June 26, 2016, a year later to the office of the Managing Director of AEDC and received at 10:07 am on July 4, 2016. This time the letter read that the community has increased to 2,500. New National Star investigations revealed that the AEDC has neglected, refused or ignored this request since 2016 till 2020.

Oyelakin, said that although the community wrote these letters they had prepared themselves to acquire a new one with money from their pockets if not that their plans fell through. “We followed up the letter but they kept posting and promising us. It seemed they were not prepared to do anything. We tasked ourselves with the sum of N 20,000 per family head so we could get a better power supply by getting the transformer ourselves.

That plan did not go through too,” he said. Oyelakin also told our reporter that early in 2020 an AEDC personnel called him but nothing came out of that. Elsewhere, the Vice Chairman of First Phase, Peace Avenue, a part of Dutse Sokale community, Bwari Area Council in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja, Imam Badamasi Adebayo, told New National Star that on November 14, 2020, four cables were stolen from the community’s transformer which made it stop distributing power to houses in that part of the community.

“On Saturday, November 14, we woke up to find out that our transformer had been vandalised, the cables were removed. The chairman contacted AEDC immediately it happened after which he went to the police station to request for an abstract because AEDC said they had to submit it at their head office before anything could be done,” he said. “The Chairman was told by the police that it was not his duty or that of the community to come for the abstract but that of AEDC because the transformer belonged to AEDC and not the community. On Monday, he went back to get the abstract. On Wednesday, he got the abstract as he was escorted by two AEDC officials.” The community was assured that in a week’s time from that Wednesday they would have fixed the light. During the weekend, on November 21, a meeting was held to deliberate what the community would do and each person was tasked to contribute N1,000 towards securing the perimeters of the transformer to avoid another case of vandalisation and to facilitate the repairs of the transformer as AEDC had not given a definite time to restore power. Imam Adebayo asserted that N482,000 was raised for that purpose initially. “AEDC may come and say that there is something they don’t have and we had to supply and assist them with,” he said. A letter of protest was also drafted to the AEDC office at Katampe issuing an ultimatum of 48 hours else members of the community will start a protest. AEDC responded and said that 48 hours would not be enough to fix the problem.

An AEDC official who the Vice-Chairman gave his name as Ifeanyi later called and informed them that AEDC had three cables available out of four and no time frame was given as to when the fourth cable will be made available. Ifeanyi also suggested that the community could assist the AEDC. Adebayo, said “they did not give us time.

It could have taken a year or a month and members of the community who had contributed money and have not seen light were growing restless since they had contributed money to the cause so we agreed to pay for the fourth cable.” One Mr. Jibola Akinola, a resident of the community corroborated the story saying “we contributed N1,000 per room at the house where I live.” Each metre of the cable cost N20,000 and five meters was needed so they paid the sum of N100,000 for the cables. On the day AEDC would fix the transformer, they asked the community to write a letter of donation.

This letter would ensure that AEDC claimed ownership of the last cable. The VC also said they paid for solar panels used to power the transformer as well as other materials that were used to install the cables. All these were put in the letter of donation.

The total sum used in assisting AEDC was over N200,000. For Imam Adebayo, if they were given a definite time frame for the issue of the last cable to be resolved by the AEDC, they would have relied upon that. “If they had said in the next two days we would have been patient. But we were told ‘we don’t know the time we would get these materials’ so we had to do something,” he said.

Contributions made by communities towards supporting AEDC in carrying out its functions were not new, New National Star observed. Mr. Babatunde, Chairman of Great Talent Community Association, ACO/AMAC Estate in Sabon Lugbe told New National Star that a letter sent to AEDC’s office at 1, Ziguinchor Street, Off IBB Way, Wuse Zone 4, on November 23, 2020, requesting four 500 KVA/11 transformer which costs N3.9 million each. The community then started a contribution, hoping to raise N1 million to take care of what was termed ‘extraneous expenses’ arising from their efforts to obtain, install and make operational the four transformers. He said, “we have not got a formal response, but the response we got was a follow-up visit to the community.”

The Abuja Electricity Distribution Company was founded in 1997 and was successfully privatised and handed over to new investors on November 1, 2013. The AEDC was tasked with distributing electricity to the Federal Capital Territory, Niger State, Kogi State and Nasarawa State. They are responsible for owning and maintaining the distribution network and supporting equipment.

They are also supposed to plan to improve power supply and technical efficiency through investment in the network to reduce electrical losses. KANN Utility Limited holds 60 per cent equity in AEDC while the Federal Government holds 40 per cent equity. Mr. Oyebode Fadipe, the General Manager of Corporate Communications of AEDC, told New National Star that the company would investigate the issues brought up in this report and also added that it was not the task of power consumers to provide materials regarding power supply. “It’s the responsibility of AEDC to provide materials, but I also do recognize there could be some time lag between when a demand is made and when there is a response for various reasons. It is not the customers’ responsibility to provide these items,” he said. He also said that business-wise, it made sense that AEDC provided power for their customers.

“The more customers we are able to provide electricity the better for us because the sale of electricity thrives on volume, the higher the quantity we are able to sell the better for us.

It doesn’t pay us to keep the customer out of supply but there are challenges that make it difficult for us to have that optimal performance and this is not a secret about the challenges in the Nigeria power supply system,” he told New National Star

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