18 September 2015, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The Consumer Protection Council (CPC) has said it would commence prosecution procedures against the Benin and Enugu distribution companies (Discos) for violating its enabling act in the on-going investigation of the activities of the country’s electricity distribution companies following consumer complaints.
The council’s action came on the heels of the non-appearance of the Benin and Enugu DISCOs without sufficient reason before the council’s panel instituted to investigate numerous complaints of electricity consumers on the estimated billings and non-provision of meters.
The Benin Electricity Distribution Company was expected to appear before the panel on yesterday by 10am while Enugu’s time was 2pm the same day in line with a schedule of appearance agreed upon with the representatives of the DISCOs at their meeting with the council on Monday, September 7, 2015.
The Benin Disco, like its other counterpart, was also expected to have forwarded some documents that would aid the council in its hearing by Friday, September 11, 2015, even though the date was shifted to Monday, September 14, 2015, for all the Discos pursuant to a plea from the Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors (ANED) for more time for the submission of the documents.
Though the council’s panel began its sitting on Tuesday, September 15, 2015, with the appearance of the Ikeja and Kaduna Discos, the Benin and Enugu Discos disobeyed the summons by not appearing before the panel as scheduled and neither did they send in the requested documents.
The panel’s chairman, Mr Emmanuel Ataguba, while announcing the council’s decision to his Panel members and representatives of the ANED present at the aborted hearing, declared that the action of the Benin and Enugu Discos was a clear violation of the council’s enabling law.
According to Ataguba, “I am satisfied that on September 7, 2015, the Benin Disco was served with a summons to attend the council’s hearing on the September 16, 2015, to provide documents and information; not only are they not here, there is nothing on record to explain their absence, and neither have they submitted any document.
“This conduct is contrary to Section 18 of the Consumer Protection Council (CPC) Act which provides criminal sanctions for such conduct and the council shall take immediate steps to ensure the prosecution of the chief executive and principal officers accordingly in the Federal High Court.”
He added, “The Enugu Disco did not appear on September 7 as well as today, September 16. So the council will also Take steps to prosecute them accordingly.”