Press Release – 21.05.16
...as Commission fines AEDC N18.1m over minor’s death
Electricity distribution companies have been directed by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to renew their comprehensive insurance as provided under Part 5 Section 5.2 of the Health and Safety Code for the Nigeria Electricity Supply Industry (NESI).
This directive was sequel to an investigation into electrocution of a seven year old minor at Kabusa, Abuja within the network of the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC).
Giving further clarification of the Commission’s ruling, the Acting Chairman, Dr. Anthony Akah, mni, said, “The directive for renewal of comprehensive insurance has general application to electricity distribution companies whose insurance policies have expired."
He warned that “stiffer sanctions await any electricity distribution companies over electrocution or any established case of negligence within their networks” even as he expressed worry over rising incidences of electrocutions.
However, AEDC was found liable in the untimely death of the minor for its improper maintenance of a low voltage aluminium conductor in Kabusa area of Abuja, even after residents had complained over the facility.
The Commission’s directives jointly signed by the acting Chairman, Dr. Anthony Akah, mni, and General Manager, Legal Licensing and Enforcement, Mrs. Olufunke Dinneh, said that AEDC should pay N18million compensation to the deceased family and N100, 000 fines to the market for its negligence and failure to report the accident as and when due.
The Commission’s Accident Investigation Team that looked into the unfortunate incident discovered that AEDC failed in its responsibilities to respond to complaints by Kabusa residents that a snapped 0.415kV aluminium conductor was hanging precariously close to the ground not until the deceased minor accidentally came in contact with it and got electrocuted.
The investigators discovered that Kabusa area has “haphazard and unkempt network which constitutes manifest breach of the Electric Power Sector Reform, NESIS Regulations, Health and Safety Code besides other regulatory instruments.”
In the directive number NERC/DRT/143, the Commission observed that AEDC “placed commercial gain above safety standard and specification by supplying electricity to sub-standard network.”
Attempt by AEDC to exonerate itself of any culpability in the incident by claiming its Fault Log Book showed no report was lodged by the residents was found unsustainable. This is because there was evidence that staff of the Disco had worked on the faulty line and cannot afterward claim ignorance of the state of the facility.
Further claim by AEDC that it was impracticable for it to rehabilitate all its networks within two years of existence as a private entity was considered a contradiction of the company’s obligations as specified in its licensing terms and conditions which expects the distribution to upgrade its networks.
The Commission, therefore, directed that “N18 million compensation should be paid to the family of the deceased within 30 days beginning from May 5, 2015” when the directive was signed. This is in addition to “N100, 000 fines for failing to submit a preliminary report of the incident within 72 hours in line with the Health and Safety Code.” The company is expected to submit compliance to the Commission.
The Company was, therefore, “directed to immediately begin renewal process of its comprehensive insurance policy; systematic and complete reconstruction of distribution network in Kabusa area; intensify consumer awareness campaign; carry out safety enlightenment campaign and provide contacts for its customers to report faults.”
Meanwhile, compensation is paid to the deceased family while fine is paid to the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) in line with Section 88 (12) of the Electric Power Sector Reform Act 2005.
Dr. Usman Abba Arabi - Head, Public Affairs Department