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NERC to prosecute DISCOs over exploitation

By Oscarline Onwuemenyi

ABUJA—Chairman of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, Dr. Sam Amadi, has promised to sanction or prosecute any chief executive officers of Distribution Companies, DISCOs, who allow their business units to exploit electricity consumers.

Amadi, who was speaking to newsmen, yesterday, to clarify aspects of the new Multi-Year Tariff Order, MYTO 2, in Abuja, noted that after only about two weeks of implementing the new electricity tariff structure, the Commission has been flooded by complaints and queries over alleged violations of the conditions of order, including illegal billing and other unreasonable charges for electricity meters and estimated billing.

One particular instance, he said involved the residents of Victoria Garden City, VGC, in Lagos who were individually metered and therefore ought to be on Residential 2 class and pay fixed charge of N500 monthly and energy charge of N12.87/kWh.

He said they were asked to pay N21,256.30 before they were allowed to vend at the Eko Distribution Company, EEDC, VGC Business Centre.

He said: “There were also reports of customers being asked different charges or being required to pay a fixed charge every time they want to recharge their meter. All such practices are fragrant breaches of the MYTO 2.”

According to him, NERC is determined to ensure that under the new tariff no electricity consumer will be exploited by distribution companies.

He said: “As soon as we received the report of over-billing of VGC consumers, we quickly investigated and wrote to the CEO of the Eko Distribution Company for immediate stoppage of the illegality.

“Because Eko Distribution Company’s case involved possible forgery of NERC’s order and criminal behaviour, we have invited the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to investigate the matter and the officials who may be liable for criminal prosecution.”

“As part of ensuring that the new tariff does not become a windfall for the distribution companies, while inefficiency continues in the system, we promised that DISCOs will supply meters to every consumer within the next 18 months starting from June 1.

“We also promised that we will sanitise the methodology for estimation such that unmetered consumers are estimated accurately for the amount of electricity they use and new customers pay minimal connection fees.”


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