So much for ‘unbundling’ of NEPA | Independent Newspapers Limited
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So much for ‘unbundling’ of NEPA

Posted: Apr 25, 2015 at 12:05 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

YOUR phone beeps and it was an SMS from your mobile phone company. You scroll down leisurely but stops dead at a point the message was asking you to buy a recharge card of N1,000 as ‘fee’ to fix a damaged mast or you will not be able to make or receive calls.

What will you do to the mobile telecommunications company? Will you humbly rush to the nearest ‘business centre’ and buy the recharge or you will call the Consumer Protection Council (CPC) or even report to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) or just take to your Facebook or twitter accounts and vent your anger against the service provider or your leaders? Just what will you do?

Well, the situation I have found myself has nothing to do with the telecommunications company. I just used that as an analogy because it is still supposedly a service provider/customer relation’s issue here.

When I saw the incoming call from the chairman of my street last Saturday, I knew it was not just a routine social call. I was right. He broke the sad news about our electricity transformer that has finally packed up and we can either wait for the DISCO officials that will take not less than a year or more, to fix it or do it ourselves.
“I went to their office (DISCO); they are not even ready to do anything for now so we just have to do it ourselves. They have even given an estimate of how much it will cost to fix it,” he said over the mobile phone. The fast talking street chairman then broke the news; a whopping N250, 000 will be needed for us to start getting our usual two hours daily or sometimes, 10 hours in three days electricity ration, but at least the feeling that you have saved yourself petrol or diesel for the short period you will ‘enjoy’ public electricity is indescribable, especially when power is restored in the night.

Now to the issue here; if NEPA has been unbundled as President Goodluck Jonathan claimed (his supporters gleefully listed the unbundling as one of his many ‘achievements’ anyway), why would customers of these private firms now have to bear the cost of fixing damaged electricity transformers and or burnt cables?

How many times have MTN or Glo or Airtel or Etisalat asked their customers to contribute towards fixing a damaged or vandalised mast? How many times have customers willingly contributed to fixing any of these telecommunications companies’ damaged equipment because they refused to do it and it was causing the service users great discomfort? Or is the privatisation of telecom sector different from that of the power sector?

As you read this, we may have raised the N250, 000 and have given it to DISCO officials to go buy the materials needed to fix our transformer.

So much for ‘unbundling’ of NEPA!


On The Prowl with Justin akpovi-esade,