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The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has proposed to fine Electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) for wrongfully disconnecting the customers from supply.
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’’.
The penalties as specified in the Regulation are: Residential N1,000; Commercial N1,5000; and industrial N2,000.
This is contained in the “Consultation Paper on Review of Customer Protection Regulations in The Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI)” which The Nation obtained yesterday.
The Consultation Paper which NERC Chairman, Sanusi Garba, signed, was dated July 16, 2021. To address landlord/new tenant battle over previous electricity bills, the commission said 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, however, 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.
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.
On the other hand, NERC has proposed that in the case of undercharge from incorrect billing, the DisCos may establish the undercharge and recover the amount for not less than three months.
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.’’
The commission said 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.
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 licencee shall be responsible for the connection to the customer’s metering point.”
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.