By Chris OCHAYI and Kunle KALEJAYE
ABUJA: The House Committee on Power has urged electricity consumers to seek redress for poor service delivery through effective utilization of the forum offices being commissioned in distribution centres across the country.
Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, who is a member of the Committee, charged Nigerians, particularly, Lagosians to take advantage of the forum office which it provided to ensure that consumers have a say in what happens with regards to electricity supply.
The development comes on the heels of plans by the Eko Distribution Company (EkoDisco) to spend over N42 billion to improve its network over the next five years.
The lawmaker, who gave the charge while speaking during the official commissioning of the Eko forum office in Lagos, maintained that consumers have the right to complain and seeks redress over poor service.
She expressed hope that the newly commissioned edifice, would take care of some consumer issues like billing, metering.
According to her, “one thing you should know is that if you have a problem with your meter, they should get it solved within five days. But I do not know whether that is happening, now with the set-up of this Eko forum I hope that will happen. And I think one of the major problems of consumers has to do with metering, all of sudden meters have disappeared.
“They are supposed to put meters in your houses but they tell you they do not have them, especially in rural areas. So I want you to go to the rural areas and ensure that meters are supplied so that the billing problems will stop.
“But most important is the awareness that this service is there, and let everybody take advantage of this service that NERC is providing, because more often than not we just discovered we are not asking questions. And NERC is telling you through Eko Disco that it is your right to seek redress. It is your right to complain. It is your right to be served. And I know that this will be done under this district” she said.
In line with government’s transformation agenda for the power sector, the office is expected to protect vulnerable electricity consumers from exploitation by service providers.
In his remarks, the Chairman of NERC, Dr Sam Amadi said the Eko office was the second level of appeal in the chain of consumer complaints, adding that issues beyond the forum were to be handled at the final appeal stage by the NERC.
Amadi, who was represented by the Commissioner, Government and Consumer Affairs, of NERC, Dr Abba Ibrahim, stated that the office would significantly reduce the incidence of protracted and expensive litigations.
The chairman also congratulated the newly inaugurated forum members who had been chosen to serve in this national assignment. “
Just a year ago the Ikeja customer’s forum was commissioned; this shows the commitment of NERC towards effective consumer’s right on electricity supply chain to reform the sector.“
The focus is for the benefit of electricity consumers in Nigeria, there is history of very poor electricity service and high level of inefficiency within the electricity sector.
“Which calls for the reform which commenced in 2001, while most of the agenda has been achieved by privatising the power sector,” he added.
He said that the commissioning of the customers forum is to ensure that electricity customers had value for their money.
Mr Oladele Amoda, the Chief Executive Officer, EKEDC said that the company was poised to rules and regulations that exhibited customer’s best practice and satisfaction.
Amoda, however, urged customers within the network to avoid contributing money for repairs of transformers, cable, and power installations.
According to him, vandalism has been a major challenge of the company and I urge all customers to join us in the fight against vandals. “We have told our customers that henceforth nobody should contribute money for anybody be it staff in the name of buying or repairing of transformers, cable and power installations,” he said.
He said that the focus of the company was to have additional 400 megawatts off-grid power in the shortest possible time.