The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has launched a mobile application called Power Outage Reporting System (PORS) which provides real-time opportunities for electricity consumers to report power outages and monitor the resolution process of the electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos).
The NERC launched the apps at its headquarters in Abuja on Monday.
EnergyDay gathered that the app which is now available for download on Apple or Google Play store, performs dual function allowing customers to make the complaint resolution process with the utility companies, while NERC on the other hand will take advantage of the app to monitor tariff regulations compliance by DisCos.
Sanusi Garba, Chairman of NERC in his comment revealed that the online platform, which is being test runned with Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC), to check erratic power supply in the country, enabling consumers to report outages, monitor the process of implications and hold the sector accountable for promises under the Service Based Tariff (SBT).
Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) had issued an order on the migration of customers and compensation for service failure under the SBT framework. The order empowers customers to demand compensation for lost hours when power distribution companies fail to supply contracted hours under the SBT.
According to him the initiative has become imperative to improve service delivery by the players in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI). He added that quality of service in the sector is critical, and that the commission has made progress in ensuring that service providers in the sector are held accountable.
Garba said the development would further improve on data that would enable a transparent verification of DisCos’ compliance with the compensation order.
“This is part of our efforts at leveraging technology to address complaints of power outages and ensure quick resolution by DisCos and NERC. I think a lot of you can recall that we recently launched a new consumer protection regulation that provides timelines within which public utilities, especially DisCos, are required to resolve complaints by customers.
“So, this particular app that we have launched today is supposed to assist the commission in ensuring that DisCos are actually complying with the standards set out in that regulation, “the NERC Chairman said.
Aisha Mahmud, NERC’s Commissioner, Consumer Affairs, said the app was introduced to ensure that electricity consumers get the best service and get value for their money from the DisCos and to also ensure they are well protected.
She said, “When this project was introduced, the idea was to make it a 100 per cent NERC project. For the project to be developed, managed, operated, implemented, maintained and monitored by the commission but somewhere along the way, we believe that even though we have the technical expertise and the competent to run this project and implement it, we did hope that the DisCos own the customers and when it comes to the issue of outages, the DisCos will be able to manage the issue of outages more than the commission, so based on that we decided to tag them along the project.
“We handed it over to the distribution companies for implementation and operation, while NERC will continue to conduct oversight function of the app and will continue to monitor it and make sure that it works properly and appropriately.
Giving further insight into the operation of the app, Mahmud said the PORS has a multi-channel approach to obtain a lot of data from customers in outages as well as hours of supply given to customers on each service band.
She said, “So if you are a customer of a DisCo and you are being supplied by the DisCo, your information is already stored in that app.
“If you have a complaint on any outage, there are multiple channels, just download the app, input your meter number and then after that, log in with your complaint, The app will automatically send a confirmation to the customer on that particular feeder of yours by notifying if there is really an outage.
If there is, then we need about two to three customers to confirm that there’s an outage on that particular feeder. As soon as they confirm that, the App will send the confirmation to the DisCos with a resolution timeline and as soon as the DisCo resolves this complaint, then the DisCo will update the app saying We’ve resolved this complaint and the app will automatically send another confirmation request to those customers on that particular feeder,” she said.
The NERC’s Commissioner, therefore noted that the power outage reporting app will allows customers to report outages without having to visit the distribution company. She added that the app is being piloted in Abuja and will be extended to other DisCos in the coming months.
Mahmud also asked AEDC’s customers to use the app to report outages and receive the services they deserve.