NERC orders 4 Discos to pay N27.41m over breach of licence terms

*Power distribution transformer.

*Power distribution transformer.

Oscarline Onwuemenyi

02 August 2016, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) yesterday said it had ordered four electricity distribution companies (Discos) to pay fines amounting to N27.41 million due to what it called “failure to treat customers’ complaints and submit statutory quarterly reports.”

In a statement issued by its communication specialist, Mr. Mike Faloseyi, NERC said that the actions of the affected Discos constituted a breach of their licensing terms and conditions as provided in the Electric Power Sector Reform Act (2005) and regulations of the commission.

Two of the erring companies, Port Harcourt and Enugu Discos were sanctioned for their failure to submit quarterly reports on their key performance indicators, whereas Ibadan and Ikeja Discos were fined over failure to attend to customers’ complaints severally referred to them.

The power sector regulator in various directives communicated to the Discos in question said the erring licensees should pay fines of various sums within two weeks, beginning on July 25, 2016, when the directives were signed by the acting chairman of NERC, Dr. Anthony Akah, and the general manager, legal, licensing and enforcement of the commission, Mrs. Olufunke Dinneh.

It also warned that failure to pay the recommended fines within the stipulated period would attract five per cent daily interests until remedial steps are taken.

According to directive 152, the Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC) flouted the Electric Power Sector Reform (EPSR) Act 2005, its licensing terms and conditions as well as NERC Customer Complaints Handling: Standards and Procedures (CCHSP) Regulation 2006.

“The Commission received several complaints directly from electricity customers in IBEDC operational jurisdiction, based on which same was forwarded via letters dated October 27, 2015, and April 15, 2016, to IBEDC’s Customer Care Unit for resolution, in line with CCHSP, 2006, NERC wrote in the statement.

“However, IBEDC failed or refused to comply with the Commission’s request/directive to resolve the customer complaints in accordance with the provisions of the CCSHP 2006,” the statement further read.

IBEDC was subsequently fined N10, 000.00 on each of the three grounds of misdemeanour beginning from April 22, 2016, till July 25, 2016, which totaled N2.850 million and due for payment within two weeks beginning from the July date when the directives were signed.

In a similar development, Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company (IKEDC) was in Directive 151 found guilty on three grounds of violating its licensing terms and conditions, EPSR Act 2005 and CCHSP that compel it to obey every directives of the NERC, treat customer complaints within a stipulated time frame, as well as oblige the regulator every information sought from the company.

The company was, therefore, fined N10, 000. 00 per day on each of the three ground of misdemeanour beginning from April 22, 2016, till July 25, 2016, when the directive was signed, also totalling N2.85 million.

Both Enugu (EEDC) and Port Harcourt (PHEDC) electricity distribution companies were found liable for their failure to submit quarterly reports on their key performance indicators, which runs contrary to terms and conditions of their license, Section 63 (1) of the EPSR Act 2005.

Directive 146 to PHEDC said, “By failing to submit the third quarter report in 2015, the Commission hereby fines PHEDC N10, 000 per day from July 15, 2015, to July 25, 2016, giving a total of N3, 760, 000. 00; by failing to submit fourth quarter report in 2015 the Commission fines PHEDC N10, 000 per day from October 15, 2015 to July 25, 2016 giving a total N2, 840, 000; by failing to submit first quarter report in 2016 the Commission fined PHEDC N10, 000 per day from January N10, 000 per day giving a total N1, 920, 000.”

This means that the grand total of fines payable by PHEDC within the next two weeks beginning on July 25, 2016, when the directive was signed is N8.52 million.
Also, EEDC was fined a grand total of N13, 190, 000 for failing to submit quarterly reports on four different instances and heeding warnings and overtures from the Commission to submit reports.

Directive 148 gave a breakdown of fines imposed on the EEDC thus: “by failing to submit second quarter report 2015, the Commission hereby fine EEDC N10, 000 per day from April 15, 2015 to July 25, 2106 giving a total of N4, 670, 000; by failing to submit third quarter report in 2015, the Commission fines EEDC N10, 000 per day from July 15, 2016 to July 25, 2016 giving a total of N3, 760.000.

It also read that “by failing to submit fourth quarter report in 2015 the Commission fined EEDC N10, 000 per day from October 15, 2015 to July 25, 2016 giving a total of N2, 840, 000; by failing to submit first quarter report in 2016 the Commission fines EEDC N10, 000 per day from January 15, 2016 giving a total of N1, 920, 000.”

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