Electricity firms ripping off consumers – Senate

11 August 2015, Abuja – The Senate on Tuesday, hit hard on Electricity Distribution Companies in Nigeria accusing them of alleged conspiracy to rip off innocent Nigerians despite epileptic supplies to their homes and business premises.

Power distribution.

Power distribution.

The senators vent their anger during their contributions to a debate on a motion sponsored by a former Governor of Ebonyi State who is currently representing Ebonyi North Senatorial District in the upper chamber, Senator Sam Egwu.

The bill was titled, ‘Unfair Trade Practice of Electricity Distribution Companies in Nigeria’.

They urged the National Electricity Regulatory Commission to inquire into numerous complaints before it by consumers, in line with the provisions of Section 74 (1)(b) of the Power Reform Act.

The senate also asked NERC to immediately enforce the abolishment of fixed charges being collected from electricity consumers across the nation.

The upper chamber also directed DISCOs to discontinue the practice of compulsory bulk metering of villages and communities in the rural areas as a consumer should have the right to be part of bulk metering scheme or not.

The senators also unanimously directed DISCOs to discontinue the practice of making consumers pay for meters, poles and transformers which by law, are properties of the DISCOs.

They, however, said that where the consumers had purchased those items, they should give notice of the purchase to the DISCOs, and should be entitled to recover their expenses from subsequent consumption of electricity.

Apart from this, the senate directed NERC in line with the provisions of Section 32 (1) of its Act, should be reporting its activities periodically to the senate.

In his lead debate, Egwu had noted that NERC was established to among others, license and regulate persons engaged in the generation, transmission, system operation distribution and trading of electricity.

According to him, the same NERC was also empowered by Section 32(1) (d) of its enabling legal regime to ensure that the prices charged by licenses are fair to customers and are sufficient to allow the licenses to finance their activities and allow for reasonable earnings for efficient operation.

The lawmaker however noted that the Commission, in the exercise of its power under Section 32(2)(d) of the Power Sector Reform Act, licensed a number of companies, including DISCOs, which since take off of their operations in Nigeria, had been ripping off consumers through fixed charges and bulk metering across the country.


– Punch


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