The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission has declared that it is not the responsibility of electricity consumers/customers or communities to buy, replace or repair transformers, poles, cables and related items used in power supply.
The disclosure was made on Wednesday in Benin, the Edo State capital by FCCPC’s Executive Commissioner, Operations, Dr. Adamu Abdullahi, in his remarks at the opening of the commission’s four-day electricity consumers’ complaints’ resolution platform, which was sponsored by MacArthur Foundation and attended by many consumers.
Abdullahi stated that there were many issues in electricity consumption in Nigeria while condemning disconnection of consumers’ lines without notice, outrageous/crazy bills, non-supply of paid-for meters and disregard for regulations, among other complaints by electricity consumers in the country.
He said, “The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), an independent regulatory body, has the authority to regulate the electric power industry in the country, while FCCPC is to protect consumers throughout Nigeria.
“Electricity consumers in Nigeria have right to properly-installed and functional meters. Payment for meters shall not be made if meters are not available. The Meter Asset Provider (MAP) shall install the meters at the premises of the customers within ten working days of payment.
“Unmetered customers shall not experience any cost increase, beyond what is chargeable to metered customers in the same area. Customers have the right to contest bills and withhold payment of disputed bills.”
The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC), Mrs. Funke Osibodu, in her goodwill message, insisted that officials of the company were trying their best to make their customers in the franchise states of Edo, Delta, Ondo and Ekiti happy, thereby quickly resolving issues.
Osibodu, who was represented by BEDC’s Chief State Head for Edo, Mr. Abel Enechaziam, stated that she was aware of limited power supply and inadequate metering, which he said should not be blamed on the electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos), stressing that BEDC was always ready to listen to the consumers’ complaints, with quick actions being taken.
BEDC’s managing director also stressed that there was inadequate supply of meters by NERC while pointing out that DisCos across Nigeria were facing challenges from the generation and transmission of power, which she expressed optimism that NERC would soon be able to resolve.
A top official of the Nigerian Electricity Management Services Agency (NEMSA), Mr. Akinbadejo Akinleye, while also speaking, noted that the agency’s officers were always striving to ensure the maintenance of quality in electricity management in the country.
One of the displeased consumers of BEDC, Daniel Ikhanaede, lamented having about four days of electricity supply in a month, in a small residential apartment in Benin, only to receive outrageous bill of over N200,000.
Peter Asekhaino, a lawyer, who is the Legal Adviser to Hotel Proprietors Association of Nigeria, Edo State chapter, revealed that he earlier wrote over forty complaint letters, on behalf of his clients, to BEDC’s head office in Benin, without response, while tendering photocopies of the unreplied letters, particularly on overbilling, wondering why a hotel’s monthly bill would suddenly jump from N900,000 to over N6 million.
While also speaking, an aggrieved elderly customer, Pa Vincent Igbinosu, lamented the irregular supply of electricity to his house in the Edo State capital, while monthly receiving crazy bills, which he said should be looked into.