19 October 2012, Sweetcrrude, UYO – THE Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, has advised electricity consumers to be alert to certain irregularities by some employees of Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN.
Giving the advice in Uyo, Dr Tony Akah, NERC’s General Manager, Government and Consumer Affairs, said the commission was aware that some PHCN officials compelled consumers to pay for transformers, electricity poles, cables, and meters.
Akah, who spoke at the commission’s “Power Consumer Assembly’’, urged consumers to watch out for such employees, adding that consumers who felt cheated should file complaints with the commission for action.
He stated that the commission had given PHCN an 18-month ultimatum to provide consumers with meters and stressed that it was illegal for the company to arbitrarily give consumers estimated bills.
“We are aware of such things like customers being forced to buy meters, transformers, electric poles. We are urging you as journalists to help us expose these people.
“Nigerian consumers should be fully alert to the trend. You have phones that have cameras, record these things and bring them to us.
“Be rest assured that as soon as we prove that there is a violation of this, we will consider it as a pure criminal violation and we as a commission will take it to the highest level and ensure that whoever the culprits are, will be brought to book.
“We ask the consumers to compile and properly file any complaints about PHCN employees asking them to buy transformers, poles, cables and meters.
“When we look at the individuals’ consumers complaints from our databank, we will be able to make PHCN do what it is supposed to do.
He advised on the importance for consumers to first file their complaints at the PHCN office that charged them for any item.
“We are aware of the increased complaints that people are being given crazy bills, bills that are not based on scientific reasons,” Akah said.
He said that even if the meters were not available, there was a methodology that had been created to produce a “more or less scientific projection to what consumer billing may look like instead of arbitrary billing”.
Akah said as regulators, the commission also had useful information from different stakeholders that would enable it to come up with more effective regulations, and effectively monitor the rules.
He said that the power consumer assembly was a platform to bring stakeholders together to harness ideas and receive complaints from consumers with a view to addressing their complaints.