Energy - News - April 1, 2021

NERC reminds DISCos of electricity consumers’ rights, amid abuses

Amid reports of the continuous incidence of abuses to consumers’ right to the supply of electricity in accordance with its stipulated rules and regulations, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) on Friday reminded electricity distribution companies (DISCos) about what those rights are and their obligations to respect them.
In a series of tweets through its official Twitter handle, @NERCNG to the 11 DISCOs, the electricity sector regulatory authority listed 14 rights of the consumers that have to be respected.
They included that:
“All customers have a right to electricity supply in a safe and reliable manner.
“All customers have a right to a properly installed and functional meter.
“All customers have a right to be properly informed and educated on the electricity service.
“All customers have a right to a transparent electricity billing.
“All Un-metered customers should be issued with electricity bills strictly based on NERC’s estimated billing methodology.
Besides, NERC reminded the DISCos that “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.
“That all customers have a right to refund when over-billed.
“That all customers have a right to file complaints and to the prompt investigation of complaints.
“That all complaints on electricity supply and other billing issues are to be sent to the nearest business unit of the DISCo serving the customer.
In the event that a consumer’s complaint is not satisfactorily addressed, NERC reminded DISCos that customers have a right to escalate the issue to the NERC Forum Office within the coverage area of the DISCo for further review and settlement.
Also, NERC said customers have the right to appeal the decision of the NERC Forum Office by writing a petition to the Commission pursuant to
the customer’s right to contest any electricity bill.
On metering, NERC said: “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.
“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,” NERC said.
Most of what were contained in the latest reminder are issues the NERC has always issued in the past. But they have always been observed largely in the breach by the DISCos, as NERC has not been enforcing them.
For instance, the problem of estimated billing by DISCos has continued, as unmetered customers have always been issued with estimated bills for electricity consumed.
Also, DISCos have always tasked electricity customers or communities to buy, replace or repair electricity transformers, poles and related equipment or risk being disconnected from the grid.
Even those who have paid for the prepaid meters are yet to be supplied, while the ones approved by the government distribution under the National Nass Metering Programme are not available to the consumers.

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