The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) says it is illegal to disconnect a consumer from the source of power supply without a 10-day prior notice from the date of bill delivery.
This was made known by the Executive Vice Chairman of FCCPC, Babatunde Irukera, at an electricity consumer complaint resolution platform on Wednesday in Calabar, where he expressed dissatisfaction over the very poor services provided by Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (PHED) in Calabar and its environs.
Irukera said that reports from the commission’s investigation showed that PHED had not performed well in the provision of services to its consumers commensurate with their bills.
What the Executive Vice Chairman of FCCPC is saying
Irukera, who described as oppressive the PHEDC services to Cross River State residents, said that reports they received on many issues included mass disconnection carried out by the company without recourse to the law.
He said, “I want to convey to you the incredible displeasure of the people of Cross River. According to them, especially the governor, if they have their way, they will prefer that PHEDC does not operate in the state.
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“If this is the view about your business, then I don’t think that business will survive. The massive disconnection of communities because of debt is not only illegal, it is outrageous and an abuse of the people’s rights. Disconnecting the whole community is oppressive.
“There are people in that same community that are consistent with payment of bills, so it is injustice and unfair to also disconnect them.
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“Any business that cannot satisfy its consumers is preparing to die; allowing consumers to pay tariffs without commensurate electricity supply is against the law.
“The problem of compelling consumers to pay electricity bills is tantamount to oppressing and extorting money illegally from consumers.
“The internal mechanism for assessing scorecard of electricity companies is not by collection of tariffs, rather it is customer satisfaction that matters.”
Irukera described as exploitative a situation where Discos disconnect power supply for days and still give out bills covering that same period.
He explained that it was illegal for consumers to buy transformers, and they would later become the property of PHEDC.
What you should know
- According to the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) regulation on Connection and Disconnection Procedures for Electricity Service (CDPES), Electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) are mandated by law to notify its customers in writing prior to the disconnection of electricity service in Nigeria.
- The NERC, empowered by the Electric Power Sector Reform (EPSR) Act, 2005, has an obligation to ensure that the electricity supply industry is efficiently run to satisfy the electricity needs of Nigerians.
- According to the regulation, a DisCo can disconnect supply when the customer refuses to pay the amount correctly billed, at the payment date.
- The disconnection is dependent on the bill being delivered 10 working days before the payment deadline, among other factors.
- The provision of the regulations stipulates that a consumer’s electricity supply can be disconnected without notice, if he/she is illegally connected to the DisCo’s network or when the customer’s installation is deemed to be dangerous to the DisCo’s network as well as the quality of supply to other customers.