April 16, 2024

 40%  prepaid meter price hike: Electricity Consumer group accuses NERC of insensitivity to plight of Nigerian electricity users

Adeola Samuel-Ilori, National Coordinator All Electricity Consumer Protection Forum


Oredola Adeola


Electricity Consumer Protection Forum in Nigeria has accused the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) of insensitivity to the plight of electricity consumers in Nigeria with the approval of a 40% increase in the price of purchasing single-phase prepaid meters, given the gross abuse, unfair, and deceptive trade practices by most of the electricity distribution companies (DisCo) in executing the installation of prepaid meters.



Adeola Samuel-Ilori, National Coordinator All Electricity Consumer Protection Forum (an accredited Affiliate of the Federal Competitive Consumer Protection Commission) made this known in a statement obtained by EnergyDay on Thursday.



According to him, increasing a single-phase prepaid meter to N81,975.16k from N58,661.69k, and a three-phase prepaid meter to N143,836.10k from N109,684.36k, is on the high side for an average consumer that is affected by dwindling purchase power of consumers, which is also caused by the same reason adduced to get prepaid meter increase by NERC.




He further expressed dismay over the silence of NERC on the plight of customers and the way the MAP 2019 is being installed.




Samuel-Ilori noted that the MAP 2019 August was meant to allow consumers to pay and buy meters from approved MAP providers seamlessly, but it has become an albatross to the relief the prospect of MAP out to bring to them.



He added that despite this, NERC has not addressed the situation, leaving customers feeling frustrated and unsupported.




He said, “It is common knowledge that the MAP providers interalia that customers will be surveyed, and payment made after survey establishes suitability and after payment, consumers are to be metre within ten days.




“This is not the practice and never has been and it is on record that many complaints have flooded your office yet there has been no abatement to the practice to the extent the consumer paid and four months after they have not been metered.



“Sir, it is not also a new thing that purchasing of meter and any other line materials should be the business of the distribution company, but the reverse has been the case while consumers are made to experience the principle of double jeopardy in that while tariff has been increased twice since the advent of MAP, no consumers have received the refund on meter purchased as contained in the MAP schedule 2019 till date.



The All-Electricity Consumer Protection Forum therefore expressed concerns over the increase in prepaid meter cost, stating that 40% is too high and demanding that the prepaid metre be made liberalized while the Discos still retain technical aspects of activation and coding to allow the provisions in the section of Electricity Act, 2023.



The consumer group, based on the provision of the section 34 of Electricity Act, asked NERC as a matter of responsibility to mandate DisCos to install meters to customers within ten days with stringent reprimand for failure, while consumers affected by this delay should be compensated.



Additionally, the group demands that the NERC activate the discos obligation to meter customers under their franchise area with time lag pursuant to section 114(2) of the Electricity Act, 2023.



Samuel-Ilori has therefore called on NERC to ensure that the new order to the discos to start refunding consumers who have purchased meters in the past be publicized and prioritized so that consumers will know before they start purchasing at the new approved price.