The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), has declared that it was illegal for any electricity Distribution Company (DisCo) to carry out disconnection of a customer’s power supply without prior notification in writing.
The NERC is the body empowered to meet the yearnings of Nigerians for stable, adequate and safe electricity supply. The Commission, in a public notice released on Saturday, said it has taken the bull by the horn by releasing to the public, the rights of every electricity consumer to curb arbitrariness by the DisCos and aid consumers in fighting for their rights.
The NERC Acting CEO/chairman, Dr Anthony Akah, who personally signed the public notice titled “Good News For Electricity Consumers!” also said that henceforth “All new electricity connections must be done strictly on the basis of metering before connection. That is, no new customer should be connected without meter first being installed.
“It is the customer’s right to be notified in writing ahead of disconnection of electricity service by the electricity distribution company serving the customer in line with NERC’s guidelines,” the public notice read.
Other rights of the electricity consumer as contained in the public notice are as follows: “A customer who elects to procure meter under the Credited Advance Payment for Metering Implementation (CAPMI) Scheme must be metered within 60 days, after which the customer will neither be billed nor disconnected by the electricity distribution company.”
“It is the customer’s right to transparent electricity billing. Unmetered customers should be issued with electricity bills strictly based on NERC’s estimated billing methodology.”
“It is the customer’s right to prompt investigation of complaints arising from the customer’s electricity service disruption”
“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.”
“It is the customer’s right to contest any electricity bill. Any unmetered 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 goes through the dispute resolution process of NERC.”
The commission urged customers to send all complaints on electricity supply and other billing issues are to the nearest business unit of the electricity company serving their premises.
The NERC said, “If your complaint is not satisfactorily addressed, you can forward your complaint to the NERC Forum Office within the coverage area of your electricity distribution company. Customers also have the right to appeal the decision of the forum at the NERC headquarters in Abuja.”
The Commission also published NERC Zonal Office Contacts for easier access and these are:
Joseph John, South West (08164201445); Tony Ray Ene, South-South (08130363581); Ekeh Samuel Chukwuemeka, South East (08062219714); Hassan GWANDU, North West (07061117416); Mohammed Umar Fufore, North East (07061097132); and Friday Sule, North Central (07036948408).
The Commission urged customers to share this information and “help us protect your rights” but however warned against neglecting their obligations.
“Note that you have an obligation to pay your valid electric bills, avoid meter by-pass or stealing of electricity and protect power infrastructure from being vandalised,” the agency stated.