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Members of the Senate Committee on Power, Steel Development, and Metallurgy, have said that poor Nigerians will soon stop paying for electricity nationwide.
This disclosure was made in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, during an oversight visit to Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company, PHEDC, which was led by the Chairman of the Committee, Enyinnaya Abaribe.
“We have had this discussion about pricing. We are taking it up with the Ministry of Works, Power and Housing. What we are looking for is a stable price. We do not want a system where things fluctuate. We will sit with them and look at all the variables”, Abaribe said during an interactive session with officials of PHEDC.
He added: “The question about prosecution is key. There is a law passed by the National Assembly, to empower the Civil Defence Corps. They have powers to prosecute people who engage in energy or cable theft. They have the power to do that. If you drag them to the Police, the fines are less. With Civil Defence Corps, you get favourable judgments.”

Commenting on other challenges of the power sector and how his Committee will intervene, Abaribe said: “The job of the National Assembly is to legislate and help with laws that will make business easier. This is one of the reasons we are going on oversight. The issue of right of way has come of age that we have to collaborate with State Governments. It has to do with land use.
“I do not think State Governments give the permission to people to build along power lines. Because of the decay, people now do certain things and nobody gets fined. The laws are already there. It is the enforcement of these laws that is the problem. We need to work with State Governments to implement these laws.
“Part of your corporate social responsibility is to ensure that the people in places where you do business are part of your campaigns. These problems are peculiar to our system. People now use transformer oil to fry akara and even cook. There are places in Nigeria where these things happen. We need to educate people on the dangers of these things. DISCOS need to carry out more awareness programmes to educate their people. We must begin to differentiate between the rich and the poor. The most vulnerable in the society should not pay for light. There is a place in Brazil where poor people stay. We visited them. We discovered that the whole community was connected, but they were not paying. We should have that system here.”

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