God: Let there be light!
Nigeria left the group chat.
How many people have had their lights disconnected by NEPA?! Calm down, calm down. I know we are plenty on that table.
How many people have had to contribute money after their transformer blew or got destroyed or something happened to their light?
If your answer to both questions is yes then congratulations! This is the problem faced by 80%? A large population of the country.
I remember when I was small and PHCN was called NEPA (National Electric Power Authority) before the time of Solar Power and Inverters weren’t as popular. Lanterns and candles were commonplace. When NEPA became ‘born again’ and baptised as PHCN – Power Holding Company of Nigeria, (A particular Newspaper then interpreted PHCN to stand for Please Hold Candles Near. Lol), some were hopeful, after all, who wants to remain in darkness? Even God wants us to have light and I have to admit, it did get better but certain things still occurred;
- Cutting/ Disconnecting people’s lights
- People contributing money when something happens to their Connection.
As Nigerians, the need to understand the rights owed to us can not be overemphasized. 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. It acts as a checkmate towards the powers of the PHCN.
WHAT ARE THOSE RIGHTS OWED US?
1. Right to a properly installed and functional meter: In a letter dated September 18th, 2012 signed by the former Chairman of NERC Dr Sam Amadi, stated that;
‘…you are NOT required to pay for your meter as the cost of the meter has been reflected in the new electricity tariff. For further clarification, there should be no exchange of monies between customers and any PHCN staff except when you are purchasing your electricity credit or recharging your meter.
Any individual requesting payment for a meter or for its installation is doing so against the law and can face prosecution by EFCC…’ The letter
2. Disconnection of Electricity Supply: Section 5 of the Electric Power Sector Reform Act, 2005 Connection and Disconnection Procedure Electricity Services, 2007 –
‘A Distribution Company may only disconnect supply to a Customer’s address when the Customer has not paid the amount correctly billed for that supply address by the relevant payment date.
- The payment date is clearly shown on the bill.
- Payment date is at least 10 working days from the date of delivery of the bill to the supply address or a delivery address provided by the Customer, which is acceptable to the Distribution Company.
- Period between the date of payment and the date of disconnection is not less than 3 (three) months.
- The Distribution Company has given the Customer a Written Notice… The Act
- Exception: Where connection was done illegally.
OTHER RIGHTS INCLUDE:
1. All customers have a right to refund when over billed.
2. All customers have a right to file complaints and to the prompt investigation of complaints.
3. All complaints on electricity supply and other billing issues are to be sent to the nearest business unit of the DisCo serving the customer.
4. 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.
5. Customers have the right to appeal the decision of the NERC Forum Office by writing a petition to the Commission.
6. It is the customer’s right to contest any electricity bill.
7. 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.
8. 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.
The National Electricity Regulatory Commission has thought up ways to protect we the Consumers. Forums and other methods have been created in order to better suit the needs of the Consumers.
To lay a complaint, simply click on the Complaint link and a step by step process will be presented.
The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has been chosen as one of the agencies of government in a pilot scheme for the implementation of the Freedom of Information Act. The Commission also serves to develop the capacity for compliance with the provisions of the Act.
You can submit your Freedom Of Information (FOI) requests to our FOI Desk via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
To read more on Freedom of Information, click on the link https://streetlawyernaija.com/2019/09/07/freedom-of-information-in-nigeria-your-right-as-protected-by-law/
Written by Ezeoke Onyinyechi V.