…Says DISCOs must notify customers before disconnections
Kunle Kalejaye 24 February 2016, Sweetcrude, Lagos –
The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, has urged unmetered electrify consumers not to pay any disputed estimated bills sent to them by power distribution companies or Discos.
This information is contained in a notice on NERC’s website titled “Public Notice on Electricity Customer Rights and Obligations”.
“It is your “right to contest any electricity bill. Any unmetered customer who is disputing his/her estimated bill has the right not to pay the disputed bill, but pay only the last undisputed bill as the contested bill go through the dispute resolution process of NERC,” the notice read.
The notice explained that electricity consumers have the right to transparent electricity billing, stressing that unmetered customers should be issued electricity bills based on NERC’s Estimated Billing Methodology, EBM.
Former Chairman of NERC, Dr. Sam Amadi told SweetcrudeReports that the agency’s EBM is a mathematical calculation of electricity consumed by unmetered customers, noting that it is a fair and accurate method.
Amadi added that DISCOs are expected to comply with NERC’s EBM and that default on the part of any DISCO shall attract penalty.
“Abuja DISCO was penalised for arbitrary electricity charges last year by NERC. NERC ordered them to refund N50 million to 33,000 consumers in the Federal Capital Territory,” Amadi said.
The notice further explained that to ensure quality service delivery, it is pertinent for electricity customers to know their rights and obligation, adding that all new electric connections must be done strictly on the basis of metering before connection.
“That is, no new customer should be connected without a meter first being installed.
“Customer who elects to procure meter under the Credited Advance Payment for Metering Implementation, CAPMI, scheme must be metered within 60 days, failure in which the electricity customer will neither be billed nor disconnected by the electricity distribution company,” the notice stated.
It continued: “It is your right to be notified in writing ahead of disconnection of electricity service by the electricity distribution company serving you.
“It is your right to prompt investigation of complaints arising from your electricity service.
“It is not the responsibility of electricity customer or community to buy, replace or repair electricity transformers, poles and related equipment used in supply of electricity.
“All complaints on your electricity supply and other billing issues are to be sent to your nearest Business Unit of electricity company serving your premises. If your complaint is not satisfactorily addressed you can forward your complaint to the NERC Forum Office within the coverage area of your electricity distribution company.”
NERC maintained that electricity customers also have the right to appeal the decision of the Forum.