CONSUMER Protection Council (CPC) has ordered the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) to pay the family of an electrocuted boy in Abuja N10 million because of its technical lapses and gross negligence.
CPC’s order came on the heels of a complaint from Mr. TadeAyodele, who claimed that a live electricity power cable fell from a pole at the old Panteker Area of Kabusa, Abuja on Monday, 9th November 2015, causing the electrocution and subsequent death of his son, Master Samuel Ayodele.
A statement delivered to Daily Champion said the complainant has narrated how his son had slipped and fallen on the said live electricity cable, leading to his electrocution and death on the said date.
Responding to CPC’s investigation on the matter, AEDC dissociated itself from the unfortunate incident, claiming in its letter of 7th December 2015 that “the electricity distribution network in the community where the deceased lived is a substandard self help project” that should not be attributed to it or any of its authorized agents and that the illegal substandard installations were merely tolerated to some extent due to the exigencies of the electricity industry.
The Council however stated that in the course of its investigation, it visited the site, conducted spot interviews of residents of the community and sought the technical opinion from the Nigerian Electricity Management Services Agency (NEMSA), the sector regulator, set up by the Federal Government to, among others, carry out testing and certification of electrical installations, electricity meters, instruments and commercial services on key critical areas of Nigerian electricity supply industry.
According to the Council, the technical opinion of NEMSA concluded that the accident “occurred as a result of weak/bad low tension network and technical lapses on the part of AEDC for allowing such a substandard installations in their network and for not responding promptly to the snap conductor after it was reported to them.”
CPC, therefore, concluded that the outcome of all its investigation could not substantiate the disclaimer of the AEDC as contained in the company’s letter of December 7, 2015. The Council in reaching this conclusion,agreed with and relied on the expert opinion of NEMSA the sector regulator on quality and electricity materials.
Furthermore the Council found AEDC liable for incorporating “this self help project” into its billing system by collecting payment from the community, while failing, refusing and neglecting to disconnect the purported illegal substandard installations.
Consequently, CPC ordered the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company PLC to “pay the sum of N 10, 000, 000 (Ten million Naira only) to the complainant as compensation for the death of Master Samuel Ayodele which, arose from the technical lapses and gross negligence of the respondent.”
AEDC has been served with the order, and must comply and revert to the Council on or before the 30th day of April 2016.The Order has also been communicated to the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), who at all times was notified of various steps taken by CPC.
Reacting, CPC’s Director General, Mrs. Dupe Atoki, said the development would serve as a deterrent to the negligence in the provision of services by businesses. She reiterated that in line with extant regulations and international best practices, Nigerian consumers would continue to be protected from all manner of Consumer abuses.