NERC Sanctions Electricity Distributor Over Excessive Bills

NERC Sanctions Electricity Distributor Over Excessive BillsThe Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission has sanctioned the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company over what it described as outrageous bills issued to electricity consumers within the Federal Capital Territory.

NERC, in a statement issued on Tuesday, ordered that a refund should be made to over-billed customers of the AEDC through energy credit.

The statement was, however, silent on the amount to be refunded to the over-billed electricity consumers but noted that it became imperative as a direct consequence of the adjustments in estimated methodology in some of the company’s business unit.

The sanction, it noted, followed earlier Notice of Enforcement and subsequent investigation of instances of over-billing perpetrated by the electricity distribution company.

The statement read in part, “AEDC was investigated for arbitrary imposition of random figures on clusters of its customers ranging from 18 to 28 per cent between October and December 2014 and in some cases 1,100 per cent increase, which resulted in spike in customers’ bills as against the provisions of the Methodology for Estimated Billing Regulations 2012.

“The electricity distribution company was said to have tripled its customers bills issued in September 2014 and issued it as bills for October 2014, without evidence of a commensurate increase in electricity supply within the same period.

“According to the Notice, AEDC failed to forward report of the estimated billings it issued in every billing circle as provided under section 9 of the Methodology for Estimated Billing Regulation 2012, in the format prescribed by the regulation.

“Following AEDC’s failure to comply with NERC regulation over its continued issuance of ‘outrageous and unusually very high bills’ to its customers and for not complying with stipulated format in its presentation to the Commission, the company was then given seven days to explain itself if it will escape sanctions.

“Following conclusions of investigations on grounds of misdemeanour levelled against it, the Commission has ordered AEDC to refund the affected customers through energy credit of all excess charges those customers were billed. ”

AEDC according to the statement was also directed to publish “in a newspaper, with wide circulation within its franchise area, an apology to affected customers stating their business units and the amount of excess charges billed them during the period under review.”

NERC also directed the electricity distribution company to report back within two months beginning from June 15, 2015, to the Commission over its compliance with the sanctions meted on it.

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