The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) has backed the action of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) against 11 electricity distribution companies (DisCos).
NERC, as part of its sanction on the 11 DisCos, charged them an N10.5 billion fine. Its action was taken against the firms for arbitrary billing of unmetered customers and non-compliance with the capping of estimated bills.
On Monday, a statement by FCCPC acting executive vice-chair Adamu Abdullahi urged NERC to consider stronger measures to deter future violations.
Mr Abdullahi said the stronger measures could include increased financial penalties, stricter enforcement mechanisms, and even the revocation of operating licences for persistent offenders.
He said the decisive measure aligned with the mandate of the NERC.
Mr Abdullahi said the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Act (FCCPA) 2018 empowered the commission to protect consumers from obnoxious practices or unscrupulous exploitation by companies, firms, trade associations or individuals and to demand redress.
“We stand in solidarity with NERC in its commitment to safeguard unmetered customers from arbitrary billing by DisCos. The capping regulation was a significant step towards ensuring fairer treatment for those without meters, and the FCCPC fully supports its enforcement.
“The FCCPC reiterates its unwavering commitment to ensuring a better deal for electricity consumers in Nigeria. Apart from its routine resolution of electricity consumer complaints, the commission will continue to organise electricity consumer platforms across the country,” said the FCCPC boss.
He added, “These platforms have provided invaluable opportunities for consumers to voice their complaints and receive instant responses and redress from DisCos and regulators, including the FCCPC.”
Mr Abdullahi said NERC believed that fundamental reforms were necessary to address the sector’s systemic challenges, including metering gaps, billing malpractices, and inadequate customer service.
The FCCPC boss encouraged consumers who estimated bills had been shortchanged to lodge complaints with their respective DisCos and intensify such complaints to NERC or the FCCPC when they were not satisfactorily resolved.
“We are committed to investigating all legitimate complaints and securing redress for consumers,” stated the FCCPC chief.