Consumer Proection Council engages Ikeja electricity consumers

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Electricity Consumers in Ikeja, Lagos yesterday engaged the Power Distribution Company (Ikeja Electric Distribution Company), on their challenges and the way forward in the electricity sector, under the coordination of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Council.

This was in partnership with the MacArthur Foundation, which was geared towards providing a platform for dialogue and constructive engagement amongst all stakeholders in the Ikeja Power Distribution ecosystem.

The Chief Executive Officer of the FCCPC Mr. Babatunde Irukera in his remarks highlighted the following as challenges in the electricity sector;

The billing system which is now considered as outrageous for most of the consumers/crazy bills

Group Disconnection

The load shedding system. They must find a way to distribute fairly to all people in the community.

Provision of equipment through contributions by consumers which should not be.

Responsiveness and sensibility to roles and assignments

Mr. Irukera urged the  Ikeja Electric Distribution Company to ensure that they perform their duties with full quality service to the consumers.

On the part of the consumers, Irukera harped on the following approach;

The need for consumers to be awake to their responsibility, such as making undisputed payment of the bill to get solutions to pressing issues.

The need for increased sensitization and cooperation with the Discos, he said to tackle and address illegal electricity connections in the community.

The need to address the issue of violence, with communities restraining from acts of violence against the operators of electricity that are allocated to their areas.

The Director of Surveillance and Enforcement Mr. Sham Kalo at the forum, said the responsibility of the Federal Competition And Consumer Protection Commission was to take all the complains from the consumers and make sure the service provider which is Ikeja Electricity attends to all complaints, with FCCPC following to ensure all the issues raised  are properly addressed.

Mr. Kalo also informed the consumer’s forum that the FCCPC is working directly with the National Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC on regulations that concern the electricity industry and consumers rights.

He stressed that it was very important for consumers to know their rights and responsibilities by paying their bills regularly.

From the Disco the representative of the CEO of Ikeja Electricity, Engineer Sunday Oyewole said this is the first series of Townhall meetings organized by FCCPC, and pledged the commitment of the company to collaborate with the regulators and authorities and ensure improved service delivery to all the consumers.

Engineer Oyewole on behalf of the Ikeja Disco appreciated the support of the customers and assured the FCCPC, that it would continue its drive to satisfy the customers.

He lauded the MAP initiative (Meter Asset Provider) which is a regulation geared towards ensuring that meters are provided to customers across the country.

Oyewole, however, decried the lack of cooperation in some communities, which has impeded the work of the staff in carrying out their duties and called on representatives of the communities affected to assist in ensuring a seamless relationship with the Discos.

Mr. Shittu  Shuaibu Deputy General Manager Consumer Affairs, NERC  who delivered a speech on behalf of the Chairman/CEO Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission described the forum as a significant opportunity to resolve consumer issues in the electricity sector.

“Metering is of great concern to the commission and the federal government in the light of the commission. The commission has situated mention to accelerate metering through regulatory means such as the meter asset provider regulation of 2018,” Shuaibu said.

According to him, data available to the commission showed the present metering gap in the industry is about 5.04million compared to total customer population of  8.8million representing about 57% deficit the metering.

Speaking further the NERC official stated that the distributions companies had done extensive work on their customer enumeration in determining the actual metering gap as well as performed adequate KYC to reduce electricity theft and provide good service delivery to their esteemed customers.

Shuaibu said it is  expected that the metering gap will be closed within the next three years with effective implementation of discos metering roll-out plan.

Proactively, Mr. Shuaibu said the commission had established a customer complaints forum in 25 states of the federation as part of the mechanism, to ensure that customers complaints are speedily resolved.

“Today, we are conducting this town hall meeting to encourage further consumers worried by lack of meters and various complaints to follow the already lay down procedure by the commission in resolving their complaints against various Discos,” Shuaibu said.

Consumers at the forum expressed their concerns and frustrations with the services of the Ikeja Electricity Company and tasked the Disco to improve its services while calling on the regulators to ensure transparency and accountability in the sector.

The Townhall meeting for the Eko Electricity Distribution Company will take on Thursday, June 20, 2019, in Victoria Island, Lagos.

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