Why Electricity Consumers are being exploited by PHCN in Nigeria and How to seek redress
There are constant complaints from customers about unjust treatment and exploitation from the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN). Many customers are dying in silence due to many facts ranging from ignorance, lack of will and capacity to seek redress concerning the anomalies among others.
The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), which is the governing and regulatory body has set rules that that protect the rights of the consumers of the PHCN. However many people are not exploring this opportunity s as a result of being unaware of them. The principle of equity is that equity aids the vigilante not the indolent.
The extracts below are the rights and obligations of the customers of PHCN and the procedure to lodge a complaint In respect of any ill treatment from PHCN. There is also an attached sample to guide you on how to write a letter of complaint.
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Consumer Rights & Obligations
The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) is empowered by the Electric Power Sector Reform (EPSR) Act, 2005 to ensure an efficiently managed electricity supply industry that meets the yearnings of Nigerians for stable, adequate and safe electricity supply.
The Act mandates the Commission to ensure that electricity Operators recover costs on prudent investment and provide quality service to customers.
To ensure quality service delivery, it is pertinent that electricity customers know their rights as follows:
1. All new electricity connections must be done strictly based on metering before connection. That is, no new customer should be connected by a DisCo without a meter first being installed at the premises.
2. All customers have a right to electricity supply in a safe and reliable manner.
3. All customers have a right to a properly installed and functional meter.
4. All customers have a right to properly informed and educated on the electricity service.
5. All customers have a right to transparent electricity billing.
6. All Un-metered customers should be issued with electricity bills strictly based on NERC’s estimated billing methodology.
7. It is the customer’s right to be notified in writing ahead of disconnection of electricity service by the DisCo serving the customer in line with NERC’s guidelines.
8. All customers have a right to refund when over billed.
9. All customers have a right to file complaints and to the prompt investigation of complaints.
10. All complaints on electricity supply and other billing issues are to be sent to the nearest business unit of the DisCo serving the customer.
11. If a complaint is not satisfactorily addressed, customers have a right to escalate the issue to the NERC Forum Office within the coverage area of the DisCo.
12. Customers have the right to appeal the decision of the NERC Forum Office by writing a petition to the Commission.
13. It is the customer’s right to contest any electricity bill.
14. Any un-metered customer who is disputing his or her estimated bill has the right not to pay the disputed bill, but pay only the last undisputed bill as the contested bill go through the dispute resolution process of NERC.
15. It is not the responsibility of electricity customer or community to buy, replace or repair electricity transformers, poles and related equipment used in the supply of electricity.
STWP 1: DISCOS’ CUSTOMER COMPLAINTS UNITS(CCU)
When an electricity Customer wants to make a complaint, the first point of call shall be the Customer Complaints Unit (CCU) of the Distribution Company responsible for supplying electricity to the area.
STEP 2: NERC CONSUMER’S FORUM
Any customer dissatisfied with the outcome of the handling of his complaint(s) by the CCU or encounters delay/failure in the handling of such complaints may refer his complaint(s) to the NERC Consumer Forum.
STEP 3: NERC
If either party (Customer or DisCo) is dissatisfied with the decision of the NERC Consumer Forum. A petition may then be submitted to the Commission.
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