The Consumer Protection Council and the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission on Tuesday agreed to enforce the mandatory 60-day order to electricity distribution companies to either meter or stop billing their customers under the Credited Advance Payment for Metering Implementation scheme.
NERC had, in its recent directive to the companies, directed that any customer who elected to procure meters under the CAPMI scheme must be metered within 60 days.
It said any distribution company that failed to achieve this would lose the power to bill or disconnect electricity supply to such customers.
The CPC said in a statement on Tuesday that in order to effectively enforce the directive, it and NERC had signed a Memorandum of Understanding that would ensure conducive environment for consumers and investors in the sector.
The Director-General, CPC, Mrs. Dupe Atoki, said that consumers should not be made to bear the brunt of non-metering for so long even after making payment.
She said, “Consumers who are paying for services that they have not fully enjoyed need protection. We understand that the way the CAPMI system was introduced is to buffer the operators and to help them in the infrastructural challenge they have by making consumers to pay upfront.
“If consumers at the end don’t get the required supply of electricity and their funds are being used to support infrastructural deficiency, then we wonder how that can rest well with us. It will, therefore, not be fair for consumers to continue to pay for meters when the meters are not installed at the prescribed period and they are being charged arbitrarily.
“I believe that NERC has come up with a very sound directive that all consumers who have paid for meters should not be disconnected or billed if the meters have not been provided.”
The Acting Chairman of NERC, Dr. Anthony Akah, said in the statement that the collaboration with the CPC was a step in the right direction.
Akah noted that NERC was determined to intensify the enforcement of consumer protection regulations on metering, billing and the complaints of arbitrary and estimated billing by customers.
“There shall be concerted efforts aimed at greatly reducing the incidence of estimated billing and eventually eliminating it completely. The increasing incidence of vandalism of electricity infrastructure, stealing of electricity and hostility to operators are also issues we hope to jointly address,” he added.
Akah pointed out that the commission would ensure strict adherence to the meter roll-out plan by the Discos as spelt out in their performance agreements.