Following the sacking of over 50 per cent of the workforce of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria, the new owners of the electricity distribution companies are finding it tough to locate revenue generation areas in order to collect tariffs from customers, the Federal Government has said.
It said some of the Discos had failed to carry out thorough due diligence to ascertain the marketers and key workers that would have helped their revenue generation drive before effecting the massive sacking of the inherited employees.
The Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, said this during an interview in Abuja.
He said, “The collection of tariff has not been easy and this is another serious teething problem. People who are not using prepaid smart meters are being given estimated bills.
“Unfortunately, another mistake was that the Disco owners without due diligence sacked many of the workers. And some of these sacked workers were people who were very good at collecting these tariffs.”
Our correspondent gathered that the development was currently telling on the fortunes of the firms as most of them could not remit their service dues to the Federal Government in the month of November.
Up until the time of filing this report, many of the Discos had not remitted their service dues to the Operator of the Nigerian Electricity Market despite the threat of sanctions by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission.
Nebo wondered why the CEOs of the power firms would fire both core and non-core workers without sorting out those that would be needed in terms of revenue generation.
He said, “You are taking up a company and you don’t know where the money is; and without consideration, you eliminated some of the workers. It is obvious that some of them are corrupt, but throwing the baby away with the bath water is not the best way to go.
“So, you have a situation where one is expecting so much money and losing a fraction of his accounts. It is a chain, and if you don’t collect that money, how does TCN (Transmission Company of Nigeria) service its facilities? How do the generation companies get paid?
“Therefore, what happens at the Discos’ end definitely affects the generation companies because they need to pay for the gas. And the gas doesn’t come cheap. If they shut up the gas, it will affect the entire system. So, this is a problem.”
When contacted, a chief executive officer of one of the Discos stated that some of the affected power firms had started recalling “vital sacked workers.”