Gloria Akudoro, Abuja
The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has threatened to fine Electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) for wrong disconnection of electricity customers.
According to them “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.”
The penalties as specified in the Regulation are: Residential N1,000; Commercial N1,500; and industrial N2,000.
Making the disclosure Which is contained in the “Consultation Paper on Review of Customer Protection Regulations in The Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) signed by the commission’s Chairman, Sanusi Garba, revealed that this new guideline tends to address the case of landlord and new tenant over previous electricity bills.
It added that a new occupant of a premises 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.
NERC further explained 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.
“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.
“Like in the case of undercharge from incorrect billing, the DisCos may establish the undercharge and recover the amount for not less than three months,” its stated.
It also stressed on replacement of faulty or obsolete meters, which stated that 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.
The commission also disclosed that if a metering system fault occurs the DisCo is to immediately provide metering service to either repair or replace the metering system within two days of the report being communicated in writing to the DisCo.
NERC further 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 licencee shall be responsible for the connection to the customer’s metering point.”
Furthermore, 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.