The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission encouraged electricity consumers to report distribution companies that did not meet the maximum limit on estimated bills for unmetered customers.
The FCCPC stated this in a statement on Monday as it commended the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission for sanctioning 11 distributors for non-compliance.
The punch earlier reported that NERC declared on Friday that it would deduct N10.5 billion from the permitted annual revenues of the 11 power distribution companies during the next tariff review as part of sanctions for failure to meet the maximum limit on estimated bills for unmetered customers.
NERC announced that the billing of unlimited customers in its various franchise areas for 2023 revealed non-compliance with the monthly energy limits issued by the commission.
The commission explained that distributors would pay around 10 percent of the amount they overbilled their customers between January and September 2023.
Reacting, the FCCPC stated that the measure is in line with its mandate outlined in the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Act of 2018, particularly Section 17(s), which authorizes the commission to protect consumers from unsavory practices or exploitation. unscrupulous behavior by companies, firms, trade associations or individuals, and demand redress on their behalf.
FCCPC Executive Vice President/Acting Executive Director Adamu Abdullahi said: “We stand in solidarity with NERC in its commitment to protect unlimited customers from arbitrary charges by distributors. The throttling regulation was a significant step toward ensuring fairer treatment for those without meters, and the FCCPC fully supports its enforcement.
“We encourage consumers who have been harmed by estimated bills to file complaints with their respective distributors and to forward these complaints to NERC or the FCCPC when they are not resolved to their satisfaction. We are committed to investigating all legitimate complaints and ensuring redress for consumers.”
The FCCPC chief also urged NERC to consider even stronger measures to deter future violations, saying this could include heavier financial sanctions, stricter enforcement mechanisms, and even the revocation of operating licenses for persistent violators.
“Furthermore, the FCCPC reiterates its unwavering commitment to ensuring a better deal for electricity consumers in Nigeria. In addition to its routine resolution of electricity consumer complaints, the Commission will continue to organize electricity consumer platforms across the country.
“The FCCPC’s current Memorandum of Understanding with NERC aims to ensure more effective protection for electricity consumers through information sharing, joint investigations and coordinated enforcement actions.
“The Commission believes that fundamental reforms are needed to address the systemic challenges facing the sector, including measurement gaps, poor billing practices and inadequate customer service,” the commission noted.