The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) has thrown its weight behind the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) in their recent actions against 11 Electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos).
The FCCPC is also advocating for more stringent penalties to be imposed on DisCos found in violation of regulatory mandates.
NERC’s decision to take action against the DisCos stems from their ongoing practice of indiscriminately billing unmetered customers and their failure to comply with the prescribed cap on estimated bills.
In a press release issued by Dr. Adamu Abdullahi, the Acting Executive Vice Chairman of FCCPC, on Monday in Abuja, the commission expressed its endorsement of NERC’s actions and urged for even stronger measures to be implemented to deter future infractions.
Abdullahi outlined potential measures that could be adopted, including heightened financial penalties, more robust enforcement protocols, and, in severe cases, the revocation of operating licenses for repeat offenders.
He said, “We stand in solidarity with NERC in its commitment to safeguard unmetered customers from arbitrary billing by DisCos.”
“The capping regulation was a significant step towards ensuring fairer treatment for those without meters, and the FCCPC fully supports its enforcement.”
“The FCCPC reiterates its unwavering commitment to ensuring a better deal for electricity consumers in Nigeria.”
“Apart from its routine resolution of electricity consumer complaints, the commission will continue to organise electricity consumer platforms across the country.”
“These platforms have provided invaluable opportunities for consumers to voice their complaints and receive instant responses and redress from DisCos and regulators, including the FCCPC.”
Last week, the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) took decisive action by imposing a substantial fine of ₦5 billion on 11 electricity distribution companies. This penalty was levied due to their failure to adhere to the mandatory capping of estimated billing for unmetered customers.
In February 2020, NERC implemented a crucial directive mandating a capping system on estimated billing for energy companies operating in Nigeria. The primary objective behind this directive was to standardise and regulate the charges imposed on unmetered customers nationwide.
According to estimations by the current Minister of Power, the number of unmetered customers stands between 7 to 8 million. However, NERC’s report for the third quarter paints a more concerning picture, indicating that the figure may actually be as high as 11 million customers.