The ongoing practice of some electricity distribution companies forcing customers to invest in the replacement of distribution infrastructure such as transformers and cables as a condition for restoration of electricity supply has been condemned by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission NERC on Friday.
NERC had earlier issued a ‘Regulation for Investment in Electricity Networks’ whereby customers desirous of intervening in the restoration of power supply could invest in the provision of materials and installation.
It explained that the regulation provided that such an arrangement must always be on the basis of an executed project agreement between the customers and the Discos, in which the costs and the mechanism for recovery of the investment must be mutually agreed between the parties.
“In this regard, customers are hereby requested to report any electricity distribution company that has engaged in the practice of forcing customers to supply materials and/or installation as a precondition for providing or restoring electricity supply,” the commission declared in a document on Friday.
It said it was also drawn to the current practice of some electricity distribution companies embarking on the removal of meters from customer premises purportedly on the regulator’s directive that all meters that had been in use for more than 10 years should be phased out.
“The commission has issued no such directive to the licensees and no metered customer should be transferred to ‘estimated billing’ on the premise that meters in use for more than 10 years are dysfunctional,” the NERC stated.
Continuing, the NERC added, “All licensees must henceforth adhere to the PART III, SECTION 3.5.2 of the Metering Code which states that ‘if a metering system fault occurs, the distributor shall provide urgent metering services to repair or replace the metering system as soon as it is practicable and in any event within two working days of the distributor discovering that the fault exists’”.