Exorbitant estimated electricity bills are illegal…Court rules

Olubunmi Martins

Clarity on gray areas of Nigeria’s troubled electricity sector emerged more clearly as a State High Court in Ughelli, Delta State declared as illegal the frequent practice of exorbitant estimated billing of electricity charged against consumers by Distribution Companies.

The judgement was handed over to the Benin Electricity Distribution Company by Justice J Edun in a case in which claimants , represented by Emmanuel Jewo contested , “very high, unreasonable and exorbitant” estimated electricity bills on them and other customers in Ughelli Town and environs.

The judge in his ruling , declared that such action by the BEDC was contrary to the provisions of the law.

The claimants had asked the court to declare among others that by virtue of the provisions of the Electric Power Sector Reform Act, 2005, the defendant (BEDC) was not legally empowered to issue and serve “very high, unreasonable and exorbitant” estimated electricity bills on them and other customers and prayed the court to declare such actions by the BEDC as “wrongful, unlawful, illegal and contrary to the provisions of the law.”

The judgement is coming on the heels of widespread complaints by consumers across the country who have kept lamenting being fleeced by Power Distribution Companies through estimated bills and deliberate refusal to be granted prepaid meters as stipulated.

EnergyDay’s investigation reveals systemic weakness of the regulatory authority and government to protect citizens against arbitrary or exorbitant electricity charges.

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