The Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has ordered the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company to pay N50m to its various consumers in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) as refund for inflated bills despite erratic power supply to their homes and businesses.
Dr. Sam Amadi, Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of NERC, gave the order while responding to the query issued to his commission by the Senate on fixed charge, estimated bills and sundry issues.
In his response, Amadi explained that his agency monitored all complaints reported to the Discos on monthly basis and analysed them.
He said, “The Commission has recently penalised Abuja Electricity Distribution Company for exorbitant bill to customers and ordered it to refund the same amount and apologise to the consumers for the wrongful estimation.
“Abuja Electricity Distribution Company has refunded about 32,000 customers so affected. The refund has ranged between N5,000 and N15,000 per customer, adding up to over N50m.”
Amadi explained that the commission established the Forum office made up of representatives of important stakeholders like the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Consumer Protection Council, Nigerian Society of Engineers and a representative of a local Civil Society Organization.
He said the members elected their own chairman and heard complaints from consumers, stressing that their decisions if not appealed against, would be enforced by the commission.
He said every Disco has been mandated to establish functional Customer Complaints Units to receive and resolve all complaints from customers on electricity supply within its area of operation.
According to him, a timeline of 15 days has been specified in the regulation for the resolution of complaints by the electricity consumer after which an appeal could be lodged at the Forum Office.
Amadi said, “The Forum Office represents the next level that the electricity customers can seek redress from the non-performance of Discos in resolving their complaints.
“Presently, NERC has established at least one Forum Office in all the Discos to act as an appellate body in resolving complaints from electricity consumers not satisfactorily resolved by the Customer Complaints Unit of the Discos.”
He added that the commission agreed with the Senate’s position on the need to eliminate the practice of bulk bill for residential consumers and replace the practice with individual meters and bills.
By Patrick Aigbkhan