30 October 2013, Abuja – The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has said larger chunks of complaints lodged by electricity consumers in Nigeria were centered on unwholesome electricity metering practices by distribution companies of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN).
NERC’s General Manager, Government and Consumer Affairs, Dr. Tony Akah, made the disclosure at the routine Power Consumer Assembly (PCA) organised by the commission in Awka, Nnewi and Onitsha in Anambra State. Akah said consumer often petitioned the commission over failure of their respective distribution companies to provide metering facilities for efficient and accountable tariff charges or estimated billing issues and lack of transparency in the electricity billing.
According to Akah, in response to such complaints, the commission has rolled out measures such as the initial 18-month metering plan that was followed by the Credit Advance Payment for Meter Installation (CAPMI) scheme, which he said was initiated to augment the previous metering plan that was not adhered to by the distribution companies for various reasons.
Addressing irate electricity consumers who had thronged the Nnewi and Onitsha laps of the PCA, Akah emphasised that NERC was committed to contain such unwholesome practices that infringe on the rights of electricity consumers. “We are aware of your challenges, we know that you have a lot to be angry for and it is actually your right to express such anger. Over 80 per cent of complaints received by the commission from consumers like you are centered on issues such as estimated metering, excessive tariff in the estimated metering methodology and poor metering infrastructure.
“But I will ask you to be patient because total metering cannot be achieved over night. It is a gradual process that will need your support as well in terms of making sure that you pay for what you consume promptly and avoid subverting the system like engaging NEPA-2”, he told the consumers.
He pledged the commission’s determination to ensure fair play in the country’s electricity sector saying: “NERC is determined to end infringements on consumers because they are kings; to this end, we have signed a performance standard with operators in the industry to ensure that what consumers get are commensurate with what they pay.” Akah added: “We insist that every consumer must be billed fairly and transparently, we will not fold our hands and watch consumers being exploited or operators not getting paid for services they render to consumers.”
– This Day