The Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission, (NERC), power consumers are not under obligation to buy transformers, and other assets for the Electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos).
The NERC Commissioner in charge of Consumers Affairs, Mrs. Aisha Mahmud, stated this at the three-day NERC/ Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) Customer Complaint Resolution Meeting in Abuja. She clarified that the purchase of meters,cables, poles, or any assets for the DisCos, had been provided for in the tariff of the utilities.
Aisha Mahmud “said: “It is not the responsibility of the consumers to buy meters, poles or any assets for the DisCos because we have already provided for that in the tariff of the utilities. But under any circumstances that you have to purchase these items and you cannot wait for the DisCos to make that investment, we have made provision for that under our “investment regulation’’.
The NERC commissioner also explained that the commission came up with a regulation called Investment in the network and based on that, “the consumer has to sign an agreement with the DisCos stating when and how the consumer will be refunded the cost of that transformer”
“The agreement should contain a dispute resolution clause and all other items that are expected of a standard agreement. What we expect from the DisCo is to use their Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) to buy those assets or rather use shareholders’ investment or borrow from the banks to buy needed equipment”
She further disclosed that “In the event that they are not able to buy those assets, customers can come in and they have to be refunded. So what the consumers don’t know is that regulation exists and they go about making all sorts of investments which DisCos say is a donation to them because there is no agreement,‘’
The commissioner said it was part of NERC’s responsibility to also educate customers on their rights and obligations and all they were supposed to know about the electricity market.
Mahmud said ” it was part of NERC’s mandate to educate the consumers on their responsibilities such as the issue of meter, bypass or tampering with meters”
Also speaking, the NERC’s Commissioner for Planning, Research and Strategy, Mr. Yusuf Ali, said the forum was an opportunity for customers’ voices to be heard and their rights protected.
At the Managing Director of AEDC, Mr. Adeoye Fadeyibi, said that AEDC was committed to meeting their customers’ demand.
Fadeyibi, who was represented by the Head Regulatory and Government Relation of the AEDC, Mrs. Olajumoke Delonia, said the idea of the forum was to address customers’ complaints and commended NERC for their initiative.
Electricity consumers across the AEDC franchise laid down their complaints which ranged from poor electricity supply to over-billing.