InfrastructureNewsPowerNERC To Fine DisCos For Wrongful Disconnection Of Electricity

ABUJA — To give electricity consumers fair hearing, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has proposed to fine Electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) for wrongfully disconnecting the customers from the supply.

The penalties as specified in the Regulation are Residential N1, 000; Commercial N1, 5000; and industrial N2, 000.

It has proposed that “Any DisCos which disconnects a customer’s supply in violation of this regulation commits an offence and is liable upon conviction to pay the customer a penalty’’.

This is contained in the “Consultation Paper on Review of Customer Protection Regulations in The Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) which NERC Chairman, Sanusi Garba, signed and was dated July 16, 2021.

The paper proposed that where a DisCo has overcharged a customer, it should advised the customer in writing within five days of becoming aware of the error and should repay the amount to the customer in accordance with his reasonable instructions, or if no reasonable instructions are received from the customer, by crediting the amount of the overcharge customer’s next bill.

NERC has proposed that in the case of undercharging from incorrect billing, the DisCos may establish the undercharge and recover the amount for not less than three months.

The commission also said a new occupant of a premise should contact the DisCo on their first day of moving into the premises which the DisCos should take into consideration for billing of such customer.

It noted that where a new occupant fails to inform the DisCo of the commencement date, it shall be deemed to be a continuation of the old occupant regime and the new occupant shall take responsibility for the payment of any outstanding bills.

On replacement of faulty or obsolete meter, NERC said “A meter shall be considered faulty and not in compliance with the Distribution Metering Code (DMC) if it is determined that any part on that metering system does not comply with the DMC.’’

 “If a metering system fault occurred the Disco should provide urgent metering service to repair or replace the metering system as soon as is possible and in any event within two days of the report being communicated in writing to the DisCo,” it added.

It added that the distribution licensee shall within 48 hours of the provision of the requisite materials in the right quantity and quality by the customer, effect connection of supply to the customer’s residence or premises.

The NERC has also proposed that “customers requiring connection to their residences or premises shall be responsible to pay the approved connection charges required by the distribution company as approved by the commission, while the distribution license shall be responsible for the connection to the customer’s metering point.”

Hassan Umar Shallpella (Regional Correspondent)
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