A Review of the Nigerian Energy Industry

NERC, DISCOS face criticism over high charges, estimated bills

Power transmission26 February 2014, Umuahia — A group, PowerUpNG, which advocates for fair electricity distribution and billing, has condemned the high electricity bills being imposed on Nigerians by the various DISCOs in the country, saying they were exploiting the people.

The group, though in support of privatisation of electricity distribution for better performance, also condemned the system of estimated billing being used by the DISCOs

It also frowned on and condemned the resulting exploitation of consumers, in the name of Maintenance Service Charge or Fixed Charge and unreasonable estimated billing, causing so many families untold pains.

The group said in a statement by Adetayo Adegbemle: “We are driven by the desire for consumers to be fairly treated and to make sure as watch-dogs, Electricity Distributors follow the laid down regulations by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC.

“We hereby state categorically that we support with no reservation, the unbundling of Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, vis-à-vis, the privatisation of key structures in the power generation, transmission and distribution in Nigeria. We believe this is the way forward for our dear country.

“While we do not accuse the NERC, under the leadership of Dr. Sam Amadi, of colluding with the Discos to cheat Nigerians, a reasonable evidence points to the fact that the NERC, has been turning a blind eye to their activities.

“To start with, consumers all over Nigeria are paying Electricity Usage Tax in the name of Maintenance/Fixed Service Charge. It has also been confirmed that Electricity Consumers in Lagos are paying a lot higher than consumers in other parts of Nigeria.

“For Instance, customers of Ikeja Distribution Company and EKO Distribution Company are paying N750 monthly Maintenance Charge while Enugu Distribution Company charges N650 as monthly maintenance charge.

It also canvassed the formula for estimated billing be revealed to consumers, adding that electricity distribution companies should start the installations of pre-paid meters immediately.
*Anayo Okoli – Vanguard

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