July 13, 2024

It is exploitative to bill customers after disconnection – FCCPC warns DisCos

Oredola Adeola

The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) has revealed that it is illegal and exploitative for electricity distribution companies in Nigeria (DisCos) to continue to bill electricity customers after disconnecting them from their distribution networks.

Mr. Babatunde Irukera, Executive Vice Chairman of the commission, gave this warning to the DisCos in Calabar on Wednesday, at an electricity consumer complaint resolution forum.

He particularly bemoaned the actions of DisCos for disconnecting power supply for days and still give out bills to customers for power not used for the entire period they are disconnected from the system. He noted that such action is “exploitative.”

According to him, massive disconnection of communities because of debt is not only illegal, it is outrageous and an abuse of the peoples right. Disconnecting the whole community is oppressive.

The Vice Chairman of the Commission condemned the poor service delivery of Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (PHED) in Calabar and its environs.

He noted that the finding of the Commission, showed that the PHED had not been operating satisfactorily to the contract with its customers which he described as not commensurate with the amount they pay every month.

Irukera described PHED as “oppressive ”to the people and Government of Cross River State, judging by the complaints received by the Commission in recent times, including mass disconnection carried out by the company without recourse to the law.

He said, “I want to convey to you the incredible displeasure of the people of Cross River, according to them, especially the Governor, if they have their way, would prefer that PHEDC does not operate in the state.

“If this is the view about your business, then I don’t think that business will survive.

“The massive disconnection of communities because of debt is not only illegal, it is outrageous and an abuse of the peoples right. Disconnecting the whole community is oppressive.

“There are people in that same community that are consistent with payment of bills, so it is injustice and unfair to also disconnect them.

“Any business that cannot satisfy its consumers is preparing to die; allowing consumers to pay tariffs without commensurate electricity supply is against the law.

“The problem of compelling consumers to pay electricity bills is tantamount to oppressing and extorting money illegally from consumers.

“The internal mechanism for assessing scorecard of electricity companies is not by collections of tariffs, rather it is customer satisfaction that matters.”

The FCCPC however established that it was illegal for electricity consumers in Nigeria to buy transformers, cables, and other electrical installations which are then converted to DisCos property.

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