Electricity: NERC bars payment of connection fees by new consumers

17 August 2012, Sweetcrude, Abuja –The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, has announced that new electricity customers no longer have to pay connection fees to be connected to the grid for their electricity supply.

The NERC Chairman, Dr. Sam Amadi noted in a statement made available to our correspondent in Abuja, that new electricity customers will now directly purchase the materials required for connection and make such materials available to officials of their local electricity distribution company for connection to the electricity grid.

“There will be no direct exchange of monies between the customer and officials of the electricity distribution company for the purpose of connecting the customer.

“The customers will, however, receive the list of materials required for connection from their DISCO (electricity distribution company, formerly known as PHCN) Service Centre. The materials, when purchased, will be evaluated for quality by the DISCO,” Amadi stated.
This new regulation is part of the new connection methodology released by NERC as it strives to rid the power sector of corruption and protect electricity consumers from fraud and extortion often committed against them by electricity companies.

“We are determined to plug all holes of fraud and corruption in the system and ensure that the consumer gets the best possible service with electricity that is efficient, safe and affordable,” said the NERC boss.

He explained that the new regulation was developed after rigorous engagement by NERC with various stakeholders, including electricity distribution companies, civil society and electricity consumers. Several forums were convened by NERC to discuss and debate various proposals for connection methodology leading to the adoption of this methodology.

The new connection methodology provides that customers who wish to be connected to the electricity grid must, through their licensed electricians contact their nearest DISCO Service Center to complete a new service application form requesting for electricity supply.

According to him, “This application form shall determine their electricity load based on the quantity and types of appliances (air conditioners, televisions, lighting points, etc.) at the customer’s premises. It is important for the customer to provide accurate information on their appliances for the DISCO to determine their appropriate type of meter supply (single or 3-phase).”

He noted that after the submission of the new service application form, the DISCO will conduct an installation inspection at the customer’s location to assess the electrical wiring and to confirm the declared electricity load requirements. The measurement of the distance between the electricity pole and customer’s metering point will be taken to determine the length of the connection wire needed.

“After the assessment, the DISCO Service Centre will issue the list of required connection materials to the customer. The customer must ensure that the list of materials corresponds with basic connection materials approved by NERC. The approved list shall be displayed at all Service Centres and is available on the NERC website (www.nercng.org).

“The length of the connection wire is the only element that will vary from customer to customer as it will be based on the distance of the customer’s metering point to the nearest electricity pole. All other basic connection materials have been standardized.

“Next, the customer proceeds to purchase the connection materials after which he should return to the DISCO Service Centre with the purchased materials for quality validation. The Service Centre shall then arrange to effect the connection at the customer premises within 48 hours, in addition to providing a meter and meter accessories. The customer shall not pay for the meter since this cost has already been included in his electricity tariff'” the statement added.

NERC further said it was determined to make the process of acquiring electricity supply as simple and affordable as possible for electricity consumers.

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