Journalism of Courage

Nigeria’s power sector privatization: Electricity workers call owners of power coys ‘hustlers, hawks’, demand reversal

....the union called on the Federal Government to reverse the privatization of the nation’s power sector without further delay

Unimpressed with the performance of the electricity distribution companies and others following the privatization of the power sector in about 12 years ago, the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) has scored them low, describing the new owners as ‘hustlers’ and ‘hawks’.

Consequently, the union called on the Federal Government to reverse the privatization of the nation’s power sector without further delay.

The union accused them of contributing poorly to the power sector since they took over.

Persecondnews reports that the country faced multiple grid disruptions in the first half of 2022 and a 14-hour strike in August 2022 before recording an improved power supply in September.

Nigeria Electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) lost an estimated sum of N2.94 billion in revenues due to the 14-hour-long strikes embarked on by the labour unions, Persecondnews gathered.

Speaking to journalists on behalf of his colleagues, the Zonal Organising Secretary (Liaison), Engr. Kolade Ayodele, accused the new owners of deceiving the federal government into paying N2 trillion in subvention to them, insisting that they have continued to impoverish Nigerians and pillaging the country.

According to NUEE, despite recognizable improvements in the wheeling capacity of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) of 7,000 megawatts, the generation output has dwindled below 5,000 megawatts.

Ayodele said: “Since the privatization of Nigeria’s Power Sector in October 2013, electricity workers under the age of the National Union of Electricity Employees have been in the fore-front of speaking out on behalf of the Nigerian people.

“It is an undeniable truth that the power sector privatization has not added value to the lives of the ordinary Nigerians. The entire exercise which could be described as a charade has not brought any meaningful impact/improvement of the sector, rather, it has led the nation to a huge set back.

“The infrastructural development by the New Business Owners in the Power Sector has almost gone comatose while the Socio-Economic status of the average worker in the Sector has continued to decline amidst prevailing harsh economic conditions.

“The same equipment inherited from Pre-Privatization have remained what drives the Sector as there are no visible attempts by the Generation Companies (GenCos) and Distribution Companies (DisCos) to upgrade and expand their capacities/networks.

“Nigerians were deceived into believing that the ‘Harvestors’ had the Financial/Technical muscles to improve power generation and distribution to Nigerians. Can Nigerians be told today that this purpose has been achieved?

“The answer was echoed in the print/electronic media by members of the National Assembly who even called for the total reversal of the entire process.’’

Highlighting the plights of some of the workers of the defunct PHCN who have not been paid their entitlements to date, Ayodele also said: ‘Despite improvement in the wheeling capacity of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) which is still Federal Government owned to over 7,000MW, the generation output has been dwindling below 5,000MW.

“Almost nine years of power privatization, the entitlements of some of the workers of the defunct PHCN have not been paid as they suffer untold hardship while some have been sent to early grave due to frustration and lack of fund to attend to health challenges after being forced out of service under the guise of privatization.

“Similarly, the precarious work conditions have imposed hardship on existing employees in the sector as the generation companies have refused to sign Conditions of Service guiding Employer/Employee relations.

“Lack of workplace democracy, poor remuneration, lack of welfare packages coupled with being denied their fundamental Constitutional rights to belong/join the Union. They have simply become ‘glorified modern day slave camps’’.

On the rising electricity tariff in the country, the NUEE scribe said: “Electricity tariff has continued to rise without making prepaid meters available to Nigerians despite the Federal Government’s directive to the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission and the DisCos.

“We are prepared to use our labour and sweat to liberate the sector and the country from the clutches of these “hustlers in the power sector.”



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