Excess electricity charges: NERC orders DisCos to refund customers

Oredola Adeola

Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has given an order to  electricity Distribution Companies (DisCosto refund consumers through energy credit for all excess charges in the areas where they may have been billed illegally. This was confirmed in a statement recently made by Engr. Sanusi Garba,  NERC Chairman.

According to him, “We have instructed DisCos to pay back to consumers where they have been billed illegally, adding that the company will do everything possible to protect the interest of consumers.

NERC Chairman particularly cited the case of Jos Electricity distribution company which was made to refund N200 million back to consumers for poor service.

Checks by EnergyDay show that the directive was in line with regulation 9 (7) of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission’s Meter Reading, Billing, Cash Collections and Credit Management for Electricity Suppliers Regulation 2007.

The refund, according to NERC was a direct consequence of the adjustments in estimated methodology by some of the DisCos.

EnergyDay gathered that the Commission has in effect, issued notice of enforcement and subsequent investigation for instances of over-billing perpetrated by some DisCos in the country based on feedback received from customers at several complaints resolution meetings held across the country.

NERC said, “The order was in view of manifest and flagrant breaches of approved methodology for estimated billing of electricity consumers noticed during  investigations and forensic observations of DisCos operations through which an unusual increase in estimated billings of electricity consumers were observed.

EnergyDay further gathered that most DisCos across the country have at several periods tripled the electricity bills issued to their customers without evidence of a commensurate increase in electricity supply within the same period.

Engr. Sanusi however noted that capping of estimated bills by NERC is also meant to protect consumers against arbitrary charges.