The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, FCCPC has encouraged electricity consumers to report distribution companies that failed to comply with the capping of estimated bills for unmetered customers.
FCCPC stated this in a statement on Monday while commending the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission for sanctioning 11 DisCos over non-compliance.
The PUNCH reported earlier that the NERC on Friday declared that it would deduct N10.5bn from the annual allowed revenues of the 11 power distribution companies during the next tariff review as part of sanctions over their non-compliance with the capping of estimated bills for unmetered customers.
NERC disclosed that the billing of unmetered customers in their various franchise areas for 2023 revealed non-compliance with the monthly energy caps issued by the commission.
Reacting, the FCCPC stated that the measure aligned with its mandate outlined in the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Act 2018, particularly Section 17 (s), which empowers the commission to protect consumers from obnoxious practices or unscrupulous exploitation by companies, firms, trade associations or individuals, and to demand redress on their behalf.
The FCCPC Acting Executive Vice Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, Adamu Abdullahi, 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.
“We encourage consumers who have been shortchanged by estimated bills to come forward and lodge complaints with their respective DisCos, and escalate such complaints to NERC or the FCCPC, when not satisfactorily resolved. We are committed to investigating all legitimate complaints and securing redress for consumers.”
The FCCPC boss also urged the NERC to consider even stronger measures to deter future violations, saying that could include increased financial penalties, stricter enforcement mechanisms, and even the revocation of operating licenses for persistent offenders.
“Moreover, 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.
“FCCPC’s existing Memorandum of Understanding with NERC aims to ensure more effective protection for electricity consumers through information sharing, joint investigations, and coordinated enforcement actions.
“The Commission believes that fundamental reforms are necessary to address the systemic challenges facing the sector, including metering gaps, billing malpractices, and inadequate customer service,” the commission noted.