NERC releases consultation paper, seeks customers’ contribution

Oredola Adeola

The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), has issued a consultation paper, proposing amendment and review of the Customer Protection Regulations in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry.

The proposal which was obtained by EnergyDay, was signed on Monday by Engr. Sanusi Garba, Chairman of the Commission.

The fifteen-page proposal is a comprehensive document, seen as an attempt by the NERC to update various protective regulations in the industry, thereby reviewing the statutory responsibility of the Commission as the primary regulator for electricity industry.

The Commission disclosed that the consultation paper on the review of the customers’ protection regulation is being initiated based on the Section 80 of the Electric Power Sector Reform (EPSR) Act, 2005, which seeks to further provide for the Commission to develop customer service standard, customer complaints handling standard and procedure for the Nigerian electricity supply industry.

Major highlight of the paper is an attempt by the Commission to develop codes of practice for the provision of assistance to special needs customers , such as the blind or disabled , the elderly or severely ill customers.

The paper is also expected to develop procedures for dealing with and assisting, where necessary, customers who have difficulties in paying the bills. It will also evolve procedures for applying for electricity service and procedures for disconnecting non-paying customers, or for those breaches of other terms and conditions of an applicable tariff or contract.

According to the NERC Chairman, “Stakeholders are enjoined to note that NERC has prepared this document to facilitate open consultation and has provided the area for the proposed amendment accordingly.

NERC has fixed 21 days from the publication of this notice for comments , objections , inputs and contributions and representations on the customer protection regulation from all stakeholders and the general public.

The commission also charged respondents to either propose modifications or alternatives to the proposals , assumptions and expectation expressed by NERC for further consideration. The Commission has therefore initiated a public hearing on the proposed review to be held at the expiration of the response period .

It further charged the respondents to also propose other changes to the existing customer protection regulation that are not included in the consultation paper whose full documentation can be seen in the Commission’s official website.

It further stated that, “At the end of the consultation process , the Commission revealed that its decisions on the proposed amendment to the regulation will be issued in an official Gazette in accordance with the section 96(4) of the EPSR Act.

“The new review with other customer protection regulation developed by the Commission was initiated in view of sector’s development and changes to policy, regulatory and operational landscapes over a decade since it was established.

“NERC is desirous of reviewing the regulation to align with current market realities in order to ensure the interest of customers are adequately protected,” the statement disclosed.

The Commission however disclosed that it has received proposals from the electricity distribution companies (DisCos) to some of the sections of the regulations in consideration of the current state of industry.

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