Electricity Tariff in Nigeria: Procedures To Stopping Crazy Bill

There as been a large outcry of how Electricity Distribution Companies (DISCOs) do charge citizens and companies for unused light.

The over-billing is termed “crazy bill” in the nation.

High Tariff of power in Nigeria is one of the major menace plaguing Nigerians over a long period of time.

Several complaints lead to protests by consumers in River State on Wednesday.

Consumers converged at Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (PHEDC) raging the DISCO to shut down over crazy bill.

However, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) advises on ways to resolve issues on over-billing.

Michael Faloseyi, head of Corporate affairs NERC explains to newsmen that they have customer complaints but there are standards and procedures that consumers ought to follow.

He outlined about six conditions and ways through which customers can lodge complaints.

“The first step is for the customer to go lodge complain at the customer complaints unit of the DISCO office and, we expect in the next 15 working days, the DISCO would have attend to the complaint.

“But if not resolved within the stipulated time, the unit ought to give a feedback and explain to the customer the challenge they are facing.

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“If not still resolved at that level, there is the forum office.”

Section 4 of the Customer Complaints and External Regulation state says there are five panel members that sits and go through the complaints.

The panels include Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), The Nigerian Association Of Chamber Of Commerce Industry Mines And Agriculture (NACCIMA), A representative of one Non Governmental Organization (NGO) or Customer Advocacy Group; five people that are not from the Commission.

These group of five panel are all over the country with one staff from the Commission that will serve as secretary to take minutes of the meeting.

“If not still resolved yet again, then you may write a petition to NERC and there are cases as such the Commission had interfered in to make sure customers are satisfied,” Faloseyi says.

Rights of Electricity Consumers

The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) is empowered by the Electric Power Sector Reform (EPSR) Act, 2005 to ensure an efficiently managed electricity supply industry that meets the yearnings of Nigerians for stable, adequate and safe electricity supply.

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The Act mandates the Commission to ensure that electricity Operators recover costs on prudent investment and provide quality service to customers.

To ensure quality service delivery, it is pertinent that electricity customers know their rights as follows:

1.    All new electricity connections must be done strictly based on metering before connection. That is, no new customer should be connected by a DisCo without a meter first being installed at the premises.

2.    All customers have a right to electricity supply in a safe and reliable manner.

3.    All customers have a right to a properly installed and functional meter.

4.    All customers have a right to properly informed and educated on the electricity service.

5.    All customers have a right to transparent electricity billing.

6.    All Un-metered customers should be issued with electricity bills strictly based on NERC’s estimated billing methodology.

7.    It is the customer’s right to be notified in writing ahead of disconnection of electricity service by the DisCo serving the customer in line with NERC’s guidelines.

8.    All customers have a right to refund when over billed.

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9.    All customers have a right to file complaints and to the prompt investigation of complaints.

10.    All complaints on electricity supply and other billing issues are to be sent to the nearest business unit of the DisCo serving the customer.

11.    If a complaint is not satisfactorily addressed, customers have a right to escalate the issue to the NERC Forum Office within the coverage area of the DisCo.

12.    Customers have the right to appeal the decision of the NERC Forum Office by writing a petition to the Commission.

13.    It is the customer’s right to contest any electricity bill.

14.    Any un-metered customer who is disputing his or her estimated bill has the right not to pay the disputed bill, but pay only the last undisputed bill as the contested bill go through the dispute resolution process of NERC.

15.    It is not the responsibility of electricity customer or community to buy, replace or repair electricity transformers, poles and related equipment used in the supply of electricity.

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