UNDERSTANDING YOUR RIGHTS AS AN ELECTRICITY CUSTOMER IN NIGERIA
The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), in February 2020, released an Order on the capping of estimated bills in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) (the Order). The Order, issued with the objective of protecting unmetered single and 3-phase residential electricity customers (R2) and single and 3-phase commercial electricity customers (C1) amongst others, set a cap on the amount that customers without electricity meters are eligible to pay. In June 2020, the NERC issued notices of intention to commence enforcement action against seven electricity distribution companies (DisCos) over failure to comply with the Order. The notices are an indication that many electricity customers remain unmetered and DisCos continue to issue arbitrary estimated electricity bills to electricity customers. While the NERC intends to sanction defaulting DisCos, it is important for electricity customers to understand their rights as electricity customers and how to seek redress where they have been issued arbitrary estimated electricity bills.
2. The Rights of an Electricity Customer in Nigeria
Pursuant to the provisions of the NERC’s Customer Service Standards of Performance for Distribution Companies, Customer Complaints Handling Services and Procedures, Connection and Disconnection Procedures for Electricity Services, and Meter Reading, Cash Collections & Credit Management for Electricity Supply, all electricity customers have the following rights:
- Right to electricity supply in a safe and reliable manner.
- Right to a properly installed and functional meter.
- Right to be properly informed and educated on the electricity service.
- Right to transparent electricity billing.
- Right to be issued with electricity bills strictly based on NERC’s estimated billing methodology where the customer is unmetered.
- Right to be notified in writing ahead of disconnection of electricity service by the DisCo serving the customer in line with NERC’s guidelines.
- Right to a refund when over billed.
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