17 April 2015, Lagos – The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission on Thursday issued an enforcement action against the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company for increasing its customers’ estimated bills by about 1,100 per cent.
According to the commission, the notice to the AEDC was a follow-up action to previous investigations and forensic observations of electricity distribution companies’ operations through which unusual increases in estimated billings of consumers were observed in the last quarter of 2014.
Although some other Discos were found culpable, NERC described the bill increase by the AEDC as “manifest and flagrant breaches of approved methodology for estimated billing of electricity consumers.”
The commission noted that after its investigation, AEDC and some other distribution firms were invited for explanation for the unusual increase in estimated billings.
NERC said in a statement that the AEDC “imposed arbitrary and random figures on clusters of its customers, ranging from 18 to 28 per cent between October and December 2014, and in some cases, 1,100 per cent increase.”
This, it said, resulted in an unusual increase in customers’ bills as against the provisions of the Methodology for Estimated Billing Regulations 2012.
The notice from the commission added that the AEDC “tripled its customers’ bills issued in September 2014 and issued it as bills for October 2014 without evidence of a commensurate increase in electricity supply within the same period.”
It stated that the company also failed to forward a report of estimated billings it issued in every billing circle as provided under section 9 of the Methodology for Estimated Billing Regulation 2012, in the format prescribed by the regulation.
The commission stated that following the AEDC’s failure to comply with the regulation and its continued issuance of “outrageous and unusually very high bills” to its customers, and for not complying with stipulated format in its presentation to the commission, the “company has the next seven days to explain itself if it will escape sanctions.”
“Sanctions imposable for violation of licensing conditions range from financial imposition, energy refund to customers or discipline of responsible senior management staff of any erring electricity company as may be decided by the commission,” it added.
When contacted, the spokesperson for the AEDC, Mr. Ahmed Shekarau, told our correspondent that the firm would comply with the regulator’s directive.
“We have received NERC’s notice of enforcement and we are in the process of complying with its directive,” he said.
The company had earlier in the week announced that the 50 per cent reduction in electricity tariff by NERC did not affect residential consumers, most of who fall under the R1 and R2 tariff categories.