Electricity Workers Suspend Nationwide Strike

 

The National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) has suspended its nationwide strike.

General Secretary of the Union, Joe Ajaero, said the action was called off in the early hours of Thursday following a tripartite meeting between the leaders of the union, BPE and the Minister of State for Labour, Festus Keyamo.

The union had earlier commenced the industrial action on Wednesday after a 21-day ultimatum issued to the Minister of Power Saleh Mamman.

READ ALSO: Reps Summon Labour, Power Ministers Over Planned Electricity Workers’ Strike

Eko Electricity Distribution Company (EKEDP) in a tweet on Thursday said following the suspension of the strike by NUEE, they are back to business. They also thanked their customers for their patience while the strike lasted.

“Dear customer, National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) has suspended its strike. Our offices & payment channels are open for business. Thank you for your patience & understanding,” the tweet read.

 

Part of the demands of the electricity workers is the call for the settlement of unresolved workers claims after the privatization of the power sector by the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE).

Other unresolved issues are illegal transfer of union properties to power investors and the alleged refusal by some distribution companies (discos) to remit deducted contributory pension of their members of staff to pension managers.

VIDEO: Electricity Workers Protest, Picket Power Ministry In Abuja

 

Members of the electricity workers union are currently protesting in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

The workers in protest blocked main entrance gate and locked out some staff to the Ministry of Power. This is even in the presence of armed police officers.

The electricity workers are protesting over the non-payment of severance package for members who were affected by the unbundling of Power Holding Company of Nigeria PHCN into eleven electricity distribution companies (DisCos), six generating companies (GenCos), and a transmission company (TCN).

READ ALSO: Declare State Of Emergency In Power Sector, Senate President Tells Buhari

It will be recalled that the Senate President Ahmed Lawan on Monday called on the Executive to, as a matter of urgency, declare a state of emergency in the power sector to overcome the legion of problems stalling steady power supply in Nigeria.

According to the Senate President, the privatisation of the power sector in 2005 and 2013 was a grand scheme conceived with the intention to defraud Nigeria.

Lawan while faulting the power sector privatization process said it hasn’t yielded significant improvements and the National Assembly is prepared to amend the Power Sector Reform Act of 2005.

Rainstorm Destroys High Tension Poles In Port Harcourt

Falling power poleAbout 96 high tension poles belonging to Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (PHED) were destroyed by heavy wind, during the downpour that occurred on Tuesday evening in Port Harcourt.

As a result of the damaged poles with other associated materials such as 150mm aluminum conductor spanning over 32,000 metres, several cross arms, among others were also destroyed.

A cross section of Port Harcourt metropolis has been thrown into darkness.

In the wake of the loss, five 33kv and four 11kv feeders namely; Borikiri 33kv, Rainbow 33kv, Choba 33kv, Rumuolumeni 33kv and UST 33kv were affected.

Others affected are 11kv in Rumuomoi, Federal, Wokoma and Water lines.

The Chief Executive officer of PHED, Mr Jay McCoskey, reacting to the natural disaster that culminated to the loss of supply to the affected areas, appealed to the residents to exercise patience while the damaged poles are being replaced.

rainstrom-in-port-harcourt
One person was killed in earlier storm on Monday

He assured the residents that the management would do everything possible to ensure early restoration of power supply.

“It is regrettable that PHED is facing such a loss at this moment due to natural disaster, but I can guarantee that supply will be restored to the affected areas because we have started sourcing for the materials to replace the damaged poles and other accessories,”  McCoskey said.

Thunderstorm Kills One In Port Harcourt

The rainstorm came a day after a heavy rain with thunderstorm in Port-Harcourt, the capital of Rivers State,  brought down at least two masts, destroying bill boards and some roofs in Ikoku Mile 1 community.

A 16-year-old girl, who was said to be with her mother, was killed.

While two others, including the coach of the Community Football team were left with broken skulls and are currently battling for survival at the hospital.

Court Defers Ruling On Suit Filed Against PHCN

Court, PHCNThe National Industrial Court sitting in Akure has ‎adjourned the case filed by the disengaged staff of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) against the company.

The ruling on the matter was postponed till October 18, 2016, after the court heard from counsels of both parties on Wednesday in Ondo State, southwest Nigeria.

The electricity employees were led by the President of the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE), Ondo ‎State chapter, Clement Daudu.

The staff, numbering 75 were in court to challenge their alleged disengagement since 2013 without following due process and non-payment of their severance packages.

Joined in the suit as second, third and fourth defendants were the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC), the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) and the National Electricity Liability Management Company (NELMCO).

Electricity Workers Protest Over Unpaid Severance Packages

Electricity-NUEESome electricity workers under the aegis of NUEE have staged a protest over the non-payment of severance packages of their colleagues by the Transmission Company of Nigeria.

The members of the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) on Monday barricaded the gate of the headquarters of the electricity company in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

According to the Senior Assistant General Secretary of NUEE, Cyprian Ndubuisi, at least 3,000 workers of the then Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), who were disengaged before privatisation, have not been paid their severance packages.

The union also barred workers from entering into their offices while they called on the Federal Government to resolve all lingering labour issues concerning their welfare.

Fashola Admits No Sufficient Power For Distribution

FasholaNigeria’s Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, says there is currently not enough power to distribute unless more turbines are switched on.



He attributed recent power outages in some parts of the country to four turbines which stopped working, but hoped electricity supply would be stabilized soon as three of the four turbines have been restored.

“Yesterday morning we had some outages in Jebba but I am happy to report now that all the four turbines that were down, three have been restored, so there is stability now.

“It is important why the power coming from Aba is defining, its part of what I’ve spoken about. There is not enough power in the country.

“So how do you share what is not enough such that everybody gets enough? Its difficult, if not impossible.

“So what we need to do is to get more power on. So about 200 megawatts coming from there is good news for the market,” he said.

The Minister also expressed confidence that President Muhammadu Buhari’s 10,000 megawatts target would be met.

He, however, decried acts of vandalism which he says is causing some of the energy problems in the country.

“Everyone of us must contribute something now to solve the problem; it a problem we can solve. That will reduce the number of people who are contributing to being the problem.

“So those who are vandalizing electricity assets, those who are selling stolen cable, those who are not paying their bills and those diverting electricity are all problems.”

 

Severed PHCN Workers Protest Liquidation

PHCNSevered workers of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), are protesting ongoing plans to liquidate the company’s assets amidst pending labour issues including outstanding severance benefits of nearly 5,000 workers.

The protest was led by the Chairman of the FCT Council of Electricity Employees, Mr Wisdom Nwachukwu on Monday.

The workers demanded that Federal Government put the liquidation on hold and investigate the rushed process by the Bureau of Public Enterprises and the engagement of a law firm, J.K Gadzama as liquidator, contrary to the provisions of the law on assets liquidation.

They said that 10% equity and 7.5% RSA owed over 50,000 workers by the Federal Government, 16 months outstanding benefits and other outstanding issues in the sub-sector should be concluded before the winding down of the corporate headquarters of the PHCN, as agreed between the Power Sector Labour Union and the Federal Government in 2012.

The Nigeria Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) on Thursday, urged the Federal Government to suspend the planned liquidation of the unbundled PHCN.

The General Secretary of the Union, Mr Joe Ajearo, made the call during a protest by the workers in Abuja.

Mr Ajaero said that the planned liquidation must not take place without settling outstanding major labour issues in the sector.

Minister Of Power Hints Of Higher Tariff

PowerElectricity consumers in Nigeria may have to gear up to pay higher tariffs to enjoy constant power supply.

This was made known by the Minister for Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola after a guided tour of the Egbin power plant in Lagos.

The guided tour of the Egbin power plant evolved into a meeting with the management of the power plant, where the chairman of the plant said that an additional 200 megawatts of electricity has been dedicated to Lagos with a current generation of 1100 megawatts to the national grid.

He also spoke about the challenges being faced by the management.

The Minister showed in his speech that he was not oblivious of the issues facing the plant but said that there is a national plan to tackle the problem and ensure all homes enjoy power supply 24 hours but this might cost more.

Mr Fashola said that the additional 220 megawatts of electricity produced by the Egbin power plant, should be distributed to consumers, both in industrial and residential areas.

The Minister added that the federal government would only pay legally verifiable debts owed the power generating companies.

Electricity Workers Urge Buhari To Probe PHCN Privatisation

electricityAggrieved disengaged workers of the Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company have called on President Muhammadu Buhari led government to  review  the privatisation of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) by the former administration.

The workers, under the umbrella of National Union of Electricity Employees, (NUEE), alleged that the privatisation project was fraught with irregularities and urged the federal government to revisit the exercise.

Addressing the aggrieved workers of the company on Saturday in Kaduna, Northwest Nigeria, Vice President of  the Union, Sikamta Ali criticised the management of Kaduna electricity of stopping workers from participating in union activities and introducing casualisation policy as against the Nigerian Labour laws.

The workers also argued that if after many months, privatisation of electricity in the country had failed to bring positive impact to electricity consumers, then there was need for President Buhari to revisit the programme.

They called on the management of Kaduna Electric to recall over one thousand staff  that were disengaged last month, and to also allow workers participate in union activities.

Spokesman for Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company, Abdulaziz Abdullahi said the casual workers were inherited from the former PHCN, with some of them are now fully employed in its workforce.

Senate To Investigate Management Of Power Funds

Bukola-Saraki-Senate-president-president-in-NigeriaThe Senate is to begin investigating the management of funds appropriated to the Power Sector since 1999 and the unbundling of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria.

Federal lawmakers in the Upper Chamber also called on President Muhammadu Buhari to direct the Transmission Company‎ of Nigeria to reconnect Maiduguri back to the National Grid.

The Senate reached these resolutions after the Senate Majority Leader, Ali Ndume, in a motion drew the attention of the Senate to‎ the disconnection of Maiduguri from the National Grid and the General Power Degeneration across the country.

Senator Ndume said Nigerians had thought that the unbundling of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria would translate to improved electricity supply in the country but that had not been the case.

Abolish Fixed Charges, Senate Tells Electricity Regulatory Body

NERCThe Senate has urged the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), to abolish fixed charges collected from electricity consumers.

Federal lawmakers at Tuesday’s plenary session, made the resolution after reviewing the operations of the electricity Distribution Companies (DISCOs) since the unbundling of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria.

The Senate urged the commission to advise the DISCOs to end bulk metering as well as halt the practice of making consumers pay for poles and transformers, which by law, are properties of electricity distribution companies.

Most of the Senators, who contributed to the motion, narrated tales of woes on electricity supply and billing in their constituencies, accusing the DISCOs of running fraudulent operations and acts of extortion.

Some of the lawmakers said that while they expected the privatisation of the power sector to guarantee stable power supply, the situation had grown from bad to worse.

In a special report by Channels Television, residents of Karamajiji, a settlement in the Federal Capital Territory, had lamented the outrageous electricity bills which the distribution company hands down to them every month end.

The Senators have now said that consumers should give notice of where they purchase items to the DISCOs and the DISCOs should in turn be entitled to recover their expenses from subsequent consumption of electricity.

Female Bomber Detonates Bomb At DSS Office In Maiduguri

explosionA female suicide bomber has detonated a bomb close to the Department of State Security (DSS) office, a few meters from the popular Borno Express bus terminal in Maiduguri, Borno State capital.

Channels Television’s correspondent in the state said that the blast went off at about 7.am on Saturday.

The Casualty figures are still unknown, but security agents are on ground to take charge of the situation.

Another explosion also happened in Adamawa State by the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) office near a bus terminal, around Monday market.

There have been a spate of Explosions since Sunday July 5 in different states in the oil-rich nation’s north-east.

In Yola, the capital of Adamawa State at least 32 persons were killed after an explosion ripped through a busy market on Sunday, July 5 and was followed by another explosion on Monday July 6 in Jos, where  a twin bomb attack left at least 44 people dead and about 47 others injured in Jos on Monday, July 6.

Another explosion happened on Tuesday, July 7, at the Secretariat of Sabon Gari Local Government, Zaria, Kaduna State, which also left 25 people dead and 32 others injured.