Arbitrary electricity billing: Consumer protection council backs NERC over sanction of DisCos

The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, FCCPC, has backed actions of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, against 11 Electricity Distribution Companies, DisCos.

The NERC as part of its sanction on the 11 DisCos, charged them N10.5 billion fine.

The commission’s actions were taken against the DisCos for arbitrary billing of unmetered customers and non-compliance with the capping of estimated bills.

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A statement issued by Dr Adamu Abdullahi, the Acting Executive Vice Chairman of FCCPC in Abuja on Monday, urged NERC to consider stronger measures to deter future violations.

Mr Abdullahi said the stronger measures could include increased financial penalties, stricter enforcement mechanisms, and even the revocation of operating licences for persistent offenders.

He said the decisive measure aligned with the mandate of the commission.

Mr Abdullahi said the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Act, FCCPA, 2018 empowered the Commission to protect consumers from obnoxious practices or unscrupulous exploitation by companies, firms, trade associations or individuals, and to demand redress.

“We stand in solidarity with NERC in its commitment to safeguard unmetered customers from arbitrary billing by DisCos.

“The capping regulation was a significant step towards ensuring fairer treatment for those without meters, and the FCCPC fully supports its enforcement.

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“The FCCPC reiterates its unwavering commitment to ensuring a better deal for electricity consumers in Nigeria.

“Apart from its routine resolution of electricity consumer complaints, the commission will continue to organise electricity consumer platforms across the country.

“These platforms have provided invaluable opportunities for consumers to voice their complaints and receive instant responses and redress from DisCos and regulators, including the FCCPC,’’ he said.

Mr Abdullahi said the commission believed that fundamental reforms were necessary to address the systemic challenges facing the sector, including metering gaps, billing malpractices, and inadequate customer service.

The acting executive vice chairman encouraged consumers who had been shortchanged by estimated bills to lodge complaints with their respective DisCos, and intensify such to NERC or the FCCPC, when not satisfactorily resolved.

“We are committed to investigating all legitimate complaints and securing redress for consumers.”

NAN

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