Protesting Electricity workers shut Ikeja DISCO HQ

-Firm warns of looming blackout - As Benin Electricity laments disruption

7 power firms generate zero mw of electricity

Protesting Electricity workers shut Ikeja DISCO HQ – Protesting electricity workers yesterday shut and crippled business and other activities at the headquarters of Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company, Ikeja DISCO.

The aggrieved workers led by the leaders of the National Union of Electricity Employees, NUEE, and their allied unions, stormed the premises early in the morning and barricaded the office accusing the management of unfair labour practices including arbitrary dismissal of workers, poor welfare, uneven salary structure, adoption of anti-labour policies and frustration of the implementation of condition of service among others.

DISCO official

They called for immediate review of the privatisation of the power sector, claiming the power situation across the country had worsened since the private sector took over the generation and distribution of power in the country despite huge amount of money invested by government in the last five years.

Addressing the protesters, General Secretary of NUEE, Joe Ajaero, claimed the maltreatment of workers by the Ikeja Electricity,  IE,  had lingered for over two years without consideration for conducive working conditions, lamenting that a joint committee had been convened to address their concerns following the layoff of over 200 workers in 2016, but IE  dissolved the committee, sacking more workers despite court ruling that the status quo be maintained.

“We have for over two years been writing letters, meeting with them but they don’t want to agree. The sack of workers is usually premised on non-productivity and the mode for assessment of the staff is not known.

When, you give a staff target to make N100 million and there is no power supply in that area, will the people pay? If you give a staff a target of N150 million and you don’t have transformer there and there is no power supply to them, they will not pay and he or she will be termed as failure. They want workers to force people to pay for what they did not use.”

But speaking, Head of Corporate Communications at IE, Felix Ofulue, questioned the motive for the picketing describing it as self-serving.

According to him, “When NUEE chooses to cripple socio-economic activities of over a million households, for issues that can be resolved through dialogue, one then wonders if the motives are as selfless as they claim. How do you plunge a country’s commercial nerve center into darkness because of a few of your members who have been separated from the business for cogent reasons? It is really appalling. It’s an abuse of privilege to picket.

“Imagine that our employees in Alausa Injection Sub Station were chased out of the facility by the Union and they had to shut down nine Feeders that supply power to Ikeja and its environs on safety grounds. This has resulted in an immediate blackout for at least 3000 customers”

… BEDC laments disruption, instability from national grid

Meanwhile, BEDC Electricity Plc, otherwise known as Benin Electricity, has raised fresh alarm over unstable power supply between January and July this year as over 2000 outages and interruptions have been recorded following the failure of Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN, to transmit electricity gotten from national grid.

The BEDC’s network coverage area which is affected by this irregular power supply includes Delta, Edo, Ekiti and Ondo, causing affected customers dissatisfactions.

Managing Director/CEO of BEDC, Mrs Funke Osibodu, disclosed this during a media parley organized at the company’s Head Office in Benin, Edo State.

According to a statement from the power distribution firm, Osibodu said that notwithstanding the supply interruptions, the company was able to record several improvement initiatives, which impacted positively on power availability to customers in all the four states within its franchise area.

She noted that recent information from National Bureau Office of statistics stated that BEDC has the highest number of meters amongst all the 11 electricity distribution companies.

Meanwhile, she said that BEDC has signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with various non-TCN grid potential suppliers for a total of 120MW of power into Edo and Delta, while discussions was at an advanced stage for another 50MW in Delta.

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