Staff Casualised Workers Or Face Industrial Action, NUEE Warns KEDCO

NUEE, KEDCO, Workers, StaffThe National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) has issued a 7-day ultimatum to the Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company (KEDCO) to confirm the over 2,000 staff under its employment or face industrial disharmony.

Addressing reporters in Kaduna State, the Northwest Zonal Assistant Secretary of the union, Mr Moses Amedu, decried what he called the ‘unfavourable policy and casualisation’ of workers by the company.

He accused the management of Kaduna Electric of deliberately refusing to confirm the workers over 16 months after they were employed, and also laying off some staff without any reason.

Mr Amedu vowed that the union would paralyse activities at the company if the management fails to confirm the workers and recall the sacked ones.

“Kaduna Electric under its watch did not train any of their staff since their appointment in September 2015 till date, and expects them to perform magic.

“Staff are indiscriminately transferred, irrespective of their location or status with no transfer benefit.

“The management is evasive to all labour relationship and do not carry them along in their activities.

“We are hereby giving a one-week ultimatum today, February 2, 2017 to attend to our demands or risk industrial disharmony,” he said.

KEDCO Reacts To Allegations

However, the management of KEDCO reaffirmed the company’s unalloyed respect for both national and international labour laws and conventions.

Reacting to the allegations, the company’s Head of Corporate Communications, Mr Abdulazeez Abdullahi, said that more than 90% of the workers have been confirmed while a negligible percentage that failed to measure up to the basic requirement of the company were laid off.

He explained further that some staff were put on a six months’ probation to give them a chance to improve on their performance.

Mr Abdullahi restated that the company was committed to ensuring harmonious working relations with its staff.

He noted that the management had submitted a draft ‘condition of service’ to the union for its input over a month ago, stressing that the union was yet to revert to the company.

Over 90% Staff Confirmed

“The management followed a rigorous evaluation procedure in assessing its staff, most of whom were confirmed this week.

“More than 90% of the workers have been confirmed while a negligible percentage that failed to measure up to the basic requirement of the company were laid off.

“Also, some staff were put on a six months’ probation to give them a chance to improve their performance.

“And with the confirmation exercise over, the company is poised growth as it will soon unveil a comprehensive training plan to enhance staff skills and productivity.

“The confirmation exercise was delayed because of the tedious nature of the exercise that included a verification of the academic qualifications of its about 3,000 workforce.

“The management has in the spirit of wider consultation, submitted a draft ‘condition of service’ to the electricity workers’ union for its input over a month ago and the union is yet to revert to the company.

“The National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) had expressed reservation on the outcome of the talent review recently conducted by Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company,” Abdullahi said.

Electricity Workers Protest Arrest Of Colleagues

ElectricitySeveral employees of the Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company on Thursday protested against what they termed as the “unfair arrest and detention of two of their colleagues”

The employees also alleged that the arrest was a carried out on the orders of the Deputy Speaker of the Kaduna State House of Assembly, Mr. John Audu.

The aggrieved workers, under the Umbrella of National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE), claimed that two staffs of the distribution company, were arrested on Wednesday July, 1st 2016 by policemen from the Sabon Tasha Police station in Chikun Local Government Area of the state on the orders of the Deputy Speaker, for disconnecting his residence following his inability to settle his electricity bills for several months.

The Assistant General Secretary of the Union, Moses Amedu who led the protest, told reporters that the embattled Deputy Speaker had failed to pay his electricity bill for over a period of five months, a situation which he said prompted the officials to cut-off power supply to his house.

He viewed the behaviour of the lawmaker, as an abuse of authority, and stressed the need for the safety and security of workers.

The members of the NUEE protested against alleged inhuman treatment meted against their colleagues by Mr. Audu, carrying placards and chanting solidarity songs.

The workers marched to the residence of the deputy speaker to demand why he ordered the arrest of their colleagues who were merely discharging their official duties.

For close to two hours, the deputy speaker who was at home refused to address the protesters. He also refused to speak to journalists to give his own side of the story.

The electricity workers who laid siege at his gate in Mahauta area of Sabon Tasha, describe his action as inappropriate of a man who is supposed to make laws for the people.

Also, the management of Kaduna Electric, through its spokesman, Abdulaziz Abdulahi condemned the action of the deputy speaker, describing it as sheer impunity.

The company said that after discovering that the House had been reconnected without following due process, their men disconnected it again only for the deputy speaker to order their arrest.

Kaduna Disco To Distribute Free 500,000 Pre-Paid Meters

Electricity-meterThe Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company, says it has mapped out a five year plan to procure and distribute 500,000 pre-paid meters to its customers free of charge. 

The company’s  Head of  Corporate Communications, Abdulazeez Abdullahi,  told reporters that 100,000 pre-paid meters would be distributed to customers each year, as part of efforts to address issues associated with over-billing and estimated bills.

This is as business activities resumed at the Electricity Company a day after it was shut down as a result of protests by the organised labour over increased electricity tariff.

The Trade Union Congress and the Nigeria Labour Congress had On Monday kicked against the 45 per cent increase in electricity tariff by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Agency (NERC).

Operating At A Loss

The labour unions locked the main gate of the Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company during the protest. The unions while describing the increase as unjustifiable and anti-people, demanded for the reversal of the increase or they would continue with the protest.

Some of the customers – welders and business centre operators – complained that the increment was very high and had already affected their income.

Some of them, yet to get their own pre-paid meters, lamented being over billed heavily every month. They, however, called on the Federal Government to reverse the increment and make meters available to them.

Meanwhile, the management of KEDCO, insisted that the protest by the labour unions was unwarranted, as due process was followed by the government before the NERC came up with the increment.

The Minister of Power, Works and Housing had also said that the increase in tariff was necessary to attract investment in the sector.

Speaking to Channels Television, Mr  Abdullahi explained that KEDCO held a consumers forum last year where the issue of the increment was tabled and agreed by all parties. He stated that since the company took over the management last year, it had been operating at a loss with the old tariff.

In spite of the challenges , Mr Abdullahi further explained that the company was currently carrying out customers’ enumeration with a view to knowing the actual number of electricity users within its franchise area.

He explained that the process would be followed with mass pre-paid meters deployment which should commence in due course.

The top official of KEDCO complained that customers under its network were owing over 30 billion Naira, a situation he said was affecting the smooth operation of the company to serve its customers better. According to him, a large chunk of the amount was owed by the Federal and State government agencies, parastatals and military institutions.

The Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company was handed over to the core investor on December 4, 2014, after the preferred bidder, the North-west Power Limited fulfilled all requirements.

While stating that electricity supply within its network coverage had improved significantly, KEDCO stressed that there was room for further improvement, as soon as its revenue profile got better.

NEMSA Warns DISCOs To Adhere To safety Standards

IFCAll Electricity Distribution Companies in the country have been warned to adhere to standards in the procurement and installation of electrical facilities to avoid being sanctioned.

Managing Director,  National Electrical Management Services Agency, (NEMSA) Mr. Peter Ewesor issued the warning after an inspection tour of electrical installations in Kaduna State, North West Nigeria.

He warned that improper installation and use of inferior electrical facilities may cause serious danger to users and therefore urged the Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company to immediately correct some observed anomalies.

The agency is saddled with the responsibility of enforcing technical standards and regulation, among other things, in the electricity distribution services.

The purpose of the inspection tour of electrical installations in Kaduna, is therefore, to identify sites where there are faults in power lines, railway/ roads or building constructions with a view to rectifying them.

In his remarks, the Managing Director of Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company, Mallam Garba Haruna expressed satisfaction with the visit and pledged to adhere to international standards in the electrical distribution

Resolving Power Quandary: The Kaduna Electricity Challenge

NERCThe management of the Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company has denied the allegation by workers of the company that it is deliberately rationing electricity supply to consumers in order to generate more revenue and save cost.

The workers under the umbrella of the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE), On Monday accused the management of the company of not investing any amount into the system since it took over last year.

The union, which staged a protest, says the company has focused more on re-cooping the funds it spent in acquiring the company, rather than turning it around for efficient service delivery.

The protesters claim the situation was responsible for the poor power supply in the state.

Aggrieved with the development, the workers embarked on a three day warning strike, but suspended it on Tuesday following further consultation between the union leaders and the management.

Addressing reporters on Tuesday on the issues raised by the workers, the Managing Director of the company, Garba Haruna, said the reason for the poor power supply across the states under the zone was as a result of the load shedding from the national grid.

He explained that the amount of power being received from the generating company was less than eight per cent, which he said was not sufficient to serve the states under the zone. Kaduna, Zamfara, Sokoto and Kebbi are getting supplies from the generating company.

Mr Haruna also debunked the workers’ allegation that the management deliberately stopped their medical entitlement when it took over, explaining that there was a debt of 400 million Naira medical bills, which the former management failed to settle before the privatisation exercise was concluded.

According to him, it was the hospitals that stopped offering services to the staff due to the debt.
He told the union that the company was making plans to re-instate a robust medical policy that would carter for the health needs of the workers.

Meanwhile, due to the load shedding, many parts of the state have been witnessing unsteady electricity supply.

Kaduna Electricity Company Launches Digitalized Credit Recharge Cards

As part of efforts to ensure effective service delivery, the Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company has launched a third party digitalised vending system which is aimed at measuring the quantum of electricity given to its customers.

At the official launch of the third party commercial vending scheme and CAPMI meters project on Friday, Managing Director of Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company, Idris Mohammed said that the essence was to ensure accurate billing to the customers.

Mohammed also said the new scheme would facilitate good service delivery and ensure that bills are paid for as and when due and within the customers’ domain.

According to him, various accredited investment companies would provide the recharge card will be denominated at the range of 1,000 Naira up to 5,000 naira.

He explained that the scheme would involve all categories of customers using pre-paid meters, adding that recharge cards would be made available to all parts of the zone just the same way GSM subscribers purchase their airtime.

He further stated that the company is finalising arrangements to also provide online payment options in order to simplify payment procedures and will also  need additional  175 megawatts of energy to enable it provide 24 hours power supply to its customers in Kaduna, Zamfara, Sokoto and Kebbi states.

The digitalised vending system of payment involves the use of mobile phones by electricity consumers to pay their bills.