Estimated Bills: More Trouble for DisCos

…As unmetered customers decry outrageous bills, demand mass disconnection, suspension of service

By Olakunle Olafioye (Lagos), Jude Chinedu (Enugu), Scholastica Hir (Makurdi), Noah Ebije (Kaduna), Paul Osuyi (Asaba), Okey Sampson (Umuahia), Tony John (Port Harcourt), Ighomuaye Lucky (Benin), John Adams (Minna)


Sunday Sun investigation showed that Kaduna Electric Distribution Company (KEDCO) is facing multiple challenges, ranging from irregular electricity supply, cases of meter theft, as well as bypassing meter connection by some unscrupulous customers.

Another challenge being faced by KEDCO, according to Sunday Sun findings, was that in May this year, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) had notified the company of its intention to “cancel its licence” after 60 days over a N51.93 billion debt.

But at the time of filing this report, it was not certain if the debt had been settled by the company.

Unconfirmed report said that over two million prepaid meters have been distributed and installed in the Northwest zone being controlled by KEDCO.

However, a top official of KEDCO who pleaded anonymity said that since the company is still being run by an interim management, it is not proper for now to engage in media comments about the affairs of the company.

Recent report by the company indicated that the management is highly worried over theft of the prepaid meters within the Kaduna metropolis.

To this end, the company had embarked on night patrol by its security department to checkmate activities of unscrupulous customers.

The management is also worried over meter bypassing for illegal connection of electricity by some dubious customers.

In a significant move against energy theft, Kaduna Electric executed a night raid on November 24, 2023, leading to the arrest of a consumer.

The consumer, who had been tapping electricity from the 11KV Leventis Feeder, was caught in the act of an external by-pass on meter number 04190482713.

The incident underscores Kaduna Electric’s unwavering commitment to contending illegal activities within its service area and ensuring a fair and lawful distribution of electricity to all customers, the company said.

Meanwhile, some customers shared their experiences over electricity supply in their respective communities.

A customer, Gabriel Audi said: “Electricity tariff has increased, and our bill has been doubled, but there is no constant light in our place, and they keep on bringing bills. Kindly reach out to our community in U/Boro, ECWA Hausa area.”

Another customer noted: “The Kapam community opposite Kaduna Refinery, in Chikun LGA, has been in darkness for the past five months due to no transformer in the community. The residents are seeking Kaduna Electric’s urgent intervention.”

Tajudeen Ajibade, another customer, told KEDCO in a complaint letter: “We your customers in Danhonu 2, Millennium City appreciate your efforts in the sharing of electricity in our area, and we want to use this opportunity to thank you all. However, we discovered that we enjoy light in the afternoon, and not the same at night.

“Our light always goes off at few minutes after 7:00p.m, and it throws us off balance, considering the security problems we are faced with in the area. Please, kindly help us to enjoy electricity at night and save us from the threat by bandits.”


For over six months, power supply to Asaba and its environs in Delta State by the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) has remained epileptic and unstable, prompting calls by residents for improvement.

Their calls have not, however, yielded fruits as the power distribution company appears to have remained adamant and maintained the status quo.

The supply has remained poor despite government facilities taken off the grid in the past two years following the commissioning of an 8.5 MW Independent Power Plant (IPP) which is servicing all government offices in the state capital.

Residents within DLA, Jesus Saves, Agric Road, Old Anwai, Umuagu, Cable Point, Textile Mile, Ibusa Road, among other areas of the town, are lamenting the poor electricity supply to their households.

Mr Olisa Medua, a resident of TREM Street, off Ibusa Road, told Sunday Sun that in one week, the area got electricity supply for just about two hours.

“They kept switching it on and switching it off, damaging home appliances in the process. We can no longer charge our phones at home except when we take them to the office. You know the cost of fuel now, nobody arbitrarily puts on the generating set anymore.

“It is a terrible situation, and it is not limited to this area alone, it is all over the metropolis and beyond. Nobody enjoys public power supply anymore,” Medua stated.

Our correspondent also learnt that despite the poor power supply, consumers are meant to pay through their nose for electricity bills for power often not consumed with the estimated billing method adopted by the company due to lack of meters at homes.

“The bills they bring every month are outrageous. They don’t supply power yet they want us to pay heavily for darkness. They refused to distribute the pre-paid meters because they know that consumers will be able to control what they consume.

“What we get in Asaba is darkness, and we are made to pay for it, if not, they will bring ladder and disconnect the supply lines, and then charge you again handsomely for reconnection,” Uju Chukwuma, who resides within the Umuagwu area, said.

On his part, a resident of Falcon Club Street, Off DLA Road, Ado Theophilus, wondered what kind of benefit consumers derive from the corporate relationship with BEDC, saying that most communities are responsible for the maintenance of facilities.

“If the transformer is faulty which is a regular occurrence, households will contribute to fix it, if poles and cables fall down maybe due to weather, people will be in darkness until the leadership of the community mobilises to fix the fault.

“There is nothing that has been added as an asset since BEDC took over. In fact, the assets which they inherited have been depleted completely. The only asset standing is their poorly furnished office where they collect money from consumers.

“If you go there and request for a meter, nobody answers you, they can only attend to you if you want to pay your bills. In some cases, they arrogantly tell us that there is no prepaid meter, but we know that they are selling the meters to the highest bidders,” Theophilus said.

The concerned residents, in their separate interviews, appealed to the government to prevail on BEDC to make prepaid meters available to consumers so that they could be paying for what is actually consumed.

Contacted on the issues raised by residents, Mrs Esther Okolie told Sunday Sun that she was no longer the Public Relations Officer of the Asaba office of BEDC, and referred our correspondent to the office.

But at the office, nobody was willing to speak on the matter on the ground that they had been warned against speaking on such issues unless authorised by the head office located in Benin City, Edo State.


In Abia, two DISCOs, Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC), and Geometric Power, owners of Aba Power Limited (APL), operate in the state.

While APL operates the Aba Ring Fencing, which provides power to Aba and its environs, including the nine local government areas that make up Aba zone of the state, the EEDC sees to the provision of power to the rest of the state, comprising Umuahia, Ohafia, Bende axis.

Prior to the coming on board of APL over a year ago, EEDC was solely in charge of the whole of Abia State. Provision of pre-paid metres to customers then who needed them most, was at a very slow speed.

Now that the company is concentrating on Umuahia and Abia North zone in the supply of power, although, there has been an improvement in the installation of prepaid metres in the affected areas, yet, not much has been covered.

For instance, in the whole of Umuhu Ezechi community in Bende Local Government Area, no single house in the area has prepaid metre.

In the Aba Ring Fencing area, the installation of prepaid metres was moving on slowly, but steadily before the Federal Government jacked up the price of getting one to over N80,000.

Although, APL attempted to fill the gap by announcing it was to install the facility to its customers free of charge, but the minus there was that the company said it was going to be done in phases starting from the place called the Crown area in Aba, which has less than 10 per cent population of the city. Even at that, much of that area has not been covered.

It is true that the Generating Companies (GenCos) and the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) have often accused the DisCos of lacking capacity to accept and distribute the power generated by the GENCOs. However, the reverse is the case in the Aba Ring Fencing, where APL has instead accused the GenCo in the area, Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC) of low power supply.

Throwing more light on this in a chat with newsmen recently, the chairman of Geometric Power, Prof Bath Nnaji said: “Last year we started, we were buying electricity at N21 per kilowatt hour, but now, it has been increased to N68, while we charge our customers not more than N40 in line with NERC directive. They are billing at a rate you cannot collect. Even at that, the kilowatts allotted to us have been drastically reduced.”

He blamed the present epileptic power supply in the city on the low power supply from NDPHC.

On the state of the power distribution infrastructure in the state in terms of availability of last-mile transformers, substations, 11 KVA/400 and 220/240 volt transformers, it is true that the Federal Government through NDPHC which is servicing the operations of EEDC, built these facilities, but a sizable number of them are obsolete and out of use.

On the other hand, APL built last-mile transformers, substations and others, but because the company was yet to start generation of its own power, they have not generally been able to use them and the company is presently depending on the inherited obsolete facilities for operations.

Since the DisCos took over, EEDC in particular, has been able to make investments in the area of installation of new transformers to replace aging ones and in other areas to ensure appreciable level of power supply. On the other hand, APL, because it was meant to generate and distribute power, invested heavily in the building of its power plant at Osisioma in Aba.

The company also built transmission lines, stations and substations within its area of operation. In addition, APL constructed a 24-kilometer pipeline from its plant in Osisioma, to NNPC Ltd flowstation at Owaza in Ukwa West Local Government Area for the supply of gas.

Generally, at present, both GenCos are far from satisfying their customers in the area of duration of power supply. Electricity consumers in the state have been crying out daily over epileptic power supply and in some cases staying in darkness for months.

For instance, residents of Acha axis, off Emelogu Road, Aba complained recently that they have not had light for close to three months as a result of faulty transformers.

To compound their problem, they claimed that for almost one month the transformer servicing the area was taken away for repairs by APL, but it was yet to be brought back.

At inception, APL promised residents that they would have 24-hour uninterrupted power supply, but unfortunately, the reverse is the case.

On this issue, Nnaji said the non-commencement of its own power generation has been the major problem confronting it. That is why it is dependent on NDPHC for that purpose.

He disclosed that Geometric Power signed an agreement with Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), but about two years later, the SPDC licence expired and the Federal Government could not renew it and NNPC Ltd took over.

Nnaji said that with the development, his company had to start the process of a new agreement with NNPC Limited to supply gas from its facility at Owaza to the power plant.

He said that NNPCL was refurbishing its facility at Owaza, noting that when the project is completed, APL will begin to receive gas supply for its plant.

The cheering news from Nnaji is that once NNPCL starts transmitting gas to Aba Power Limited, the four giant power turbines would use the gas to generate electricity that would guarantee 24 hour power supply in the area of their operation.

“The plant will be generating 141 megawatts of electricity and this will be too much for Aba and its environs, and we plan to sell the excess power to the national grid.

“We invested over $800 million in the plant. Our problems are going to end very soon; and very soon, reliable power will be achieved,” the former Minister of Power assured.


The Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Plc (PHED), has deployed a Customer Engagement Platform and gone live on the Call Centre of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission’s Headquarters in Abuja.

This laudable innovation was in compliance with the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) Order on Deployment of Customer Engagement Platforms pursuant to Section 119 of the Electricity Act.

The order aims to standardize call centres deployed by DisCos for seamless integration with the Commission’s call centre.

Head, Corporate Communications, Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Plc, Olubukola Ilevbare, recently said in accordance with the functionalities of the Customer Engagement Platform, the platform was aimed at improving the resolution of complaints filed with the DisCo as it provides real-time visibility to complaints escalated to it.

According to her, the platform provides the Regulator, an additional avenue for monitoring DisCos service quality and delivery to the customers.

She said: “Once complaints are registered, an automated complaint (ticket-ID) is immediately generated and escalated to the channels functioning optimally for immediate resolution.

Sunday Sun learnt that PHED, as a customer centric company, was listed among the first five Discos to go live with the service as the management is keen on improving customer service in line with its core values under the leadership of the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Benson Uwheru.

As an innovation, esteemed customers were encouraged to use the platform, ( as an alternative channel to register their complaints assuring that the company would continue to resolve their complaints promptly.

Meanwhile, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Plc, Uwheru has assured critical stakeholders that the company will prioritize innovation and improve service delivery in line with its strategic vision.

Uwheru made this vow when he paid a working visit to stakeholders, opinion leaders, value chain players, traditional stools, and top government functionaries in Rivers States to discuss collaborations.

During his courtesy visit to the Commissioner for Power in Rivers State, Prof. Henry Ogiri, he said the company was experiencing transformation and innovation as management was prepared to partner with the government to succeed in the area of reliable power supply as Rivers State has the highest consumption rate in PHED’s franchise area.

Sunday Sun checks revealed that on power supply, though Port Harcourt city and its environs are not lighted at the same time, they enjoy light for hours. PHED’s power supply is rationed.

The major problem customers still complain about bitterly is over-billing. This issue usually leads the residents, particularly if it is an estate, attacking PHED staff.


In Edo State, the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) Plc oversees four franchise states, namely, Edo, Ondo, Delta and Ekiti.

Sunday Sun attempt to get the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the company, Mr Deolu Ijose to respond to the various questions posed to him through his Head of Coorperate Communications, Mrs Evelyn Gbiwen, proved abortive, but in one of the company’s press releases, Mr Ijose, was quoted to have said that out of the 4,000 megawatts being generated from the national grid, Benin Disco was allocated nine per cent which is distributed to customers in its four franchise states.

This situation has forced residents in the franchise states to raise concern.

Residents in some parts of Benin City barely get light to carry out their day-to-day works while the areas that see the light, are only given at night and this only lasts between 2:00a.m to 4:00a.m.


The situation of electricity supply in Niger State could be likened to that of a community surrounded by rivers, but has no water to drink. With three hydro-electricity dams in Shiroro, Kainji, Jebba and the fourth in Zungeru which has attained 90 per cent completion, it is expected that the state should boast of at least 20 hours of uninterrupted electricity supply, but the reality on the ground tells a different story.

Prior to the unbundling of the power sector by the Federal Government, Niger State used to enjoy uninterrupted electricity supply with a minimum of 20 hours of power supply to every part of the state.

Being the host of three of the nation’s major hydro-electric dams, it was properly and predictable branded with the slogan, The Power State.

The once cherished slogan now means little to the residents of the state it now suffers the same faith of constant darkness like other non-power producing states in the country.

Currently, the state gets a maximum of 12 hours a day with six hours in the morning and another six hours in the night from the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC).

This development has brought both business and commercial activities in the state to the lowest ebb.

All attempt by the state government and a number of protests by various youth organizations in the state to make the distribution company see reason to increase the duration of electricity supply following outcry by the people of the state and business owners did not yield any result as the government is constantly being reminded by the distribution company that the inability of the people to pay their electricity bills is largely responsible for the number of hours of electricity it supplies

This familiar argument by the AEDC is hinged on the fact that the company hardly realized money equivalent to the amount of megawatts it purchases from the GenCOs and, therefore, cannot give more than 12 hours of electricity a day.

However, the frustration of the government and people of the state is not only about the hours of electricity enjoyed, the more annoying aspect is that the DisCo makes the people provide transformers and maintained them. They are also expected to provide distribution materials as well as electric poles and service wires.

Sunday Sun investigations showed that the AEDC had never been responsible for fixing broken down transformers, fallen poles and other materials as such burden was often shifted to the desperate consumers who need electricity.

While the consumers are made to take the responsibility of providing transformers, poles and service wire to enable them enjoy electricity they are being confronted with outrageous estimated bills every month for those without prepaid meters.

Communities and towns without transformers and those with broken-down transformers usually wait patiently for politicians during electioneering to have their problems solved.

That has been the moment of respite for electricity consumers in parts of the state.

The immediate past administration in the state claimed to have expended well over N3 billion for the purchase of transformers and other installation materials for communities in the state under its rural electrification programme.

A customer in Kafin-Tela community, a suburb of Minna, the state capital, Alhaji Isah Mohammed, narrated the ordeal of the community in the hands of AEDC, saying that it costs the people over N4 million in 2012 and 2013 to install the two transformers donated to the community by the government when the distribution company declined to do so on the excuse that it does not have installation materials.

“We approached the AEDC when the former governor, Dr Babangida Aliyu, gave the community two 500kva transformers. The DisCo told the community that it did not have installation materials. So, we levied each household N5,000 to be able realize the money required to buy the materials.

“It is the same contribution we make every time the transformers have issues. The situation is so bad that even wooden pole you cannot get from the distribution company. All the company is after is to collect money from the consumers without providing services.

“This must not be allowed to continue because Nigerians are being shortchanged. If the government’s hand is clean concerning the distribution companies in the country, then it must do something to rescue the people because the situation is not peculiar to AEDC alone,” he said.

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