Any electricity distribution company that undermines consumer rights violates the law – CPC
Director General, Consumer Protection Council (CPC), Babatunde Irukera (right), speaking during the Town Hall meeting on consumer issues in the electricity sector, organized by CPC in Bwari, Abuja. Seated (front): Representative of the Managing Director, Nigeria Electricity Management Service Agency (NEMSA), Engineer William Metiete (left) and Commissioner, Consumer Affairs, Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) Dr. Moses Arigu (second left).
The Director-General, Consumer Protection Council (CPC), Babatunde Irukera, has said any electricity distribution company that abuses the rights of consumers violates the law.
Irukera said this on Saturday, March 24, 2018 in Bwari, a satellite town in the Federal Capital Territory, during a Town Hall meeting on electricity distribution, organised by the Council, for residents of the area and its environs.
He said electricity is an essential public utility and should be recognised as such because every citizen deserves to enjoy the facility. He noted that Nigerians had lived for a very long time with poor power supply and were dissatisfied.
According to him, “the greatest complaint in the power value chain is not whether enough power is generated or transmitted, but more of what happens in the distribution component of the value chain”.
The Director General stated further: “People complain a lot more about the responsiveness of the distribution companies, than whether they have power or not.
“People complain a lot more about whether the bills they are getting truly reflect their consumption, or whether they are arbitrary, unreasonable and lacking any fundamental or rational support for how they are arrived at. People complain a lot more about being responsible and paying their bills, and yet being disconnected because they belong to a community or a group,” he added.
Irukera noted that if electricity consumers who were paying their bills were disconnected alongside those who did not, the rights of those paying would have been violated.
He also said power was really about people, adding that people would only remain with the service they got for as long as they did not have another option, stressing that when people pay reluctantly for services, then it has become social extortion.
He told consumers they had certain responsibilities toward the companies, charging them to always pay their electricity bills responsibly. The Director General also cautioned the public to stop short-changing the power distribution process. In his remarks, the Commissioner for Government and Consumer Affairs, Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission [NERC], Dr. Moses Ariga, assured the public, that the Commission would be implementing the Meter Asset Provider (MAP) Regulation that would put an end to many of their concerns.