From the days of the old Electricity Corporation of Nigeria (ECN) in the 1960s and 1970s, the National Electric Power Authority (NEPA) in the 1980s and 1990s to the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), Nigerian consumers had always been slammed with bills that were not based on the actual quantity of electricity supplied and consumed.
The current electricity distribution companies (DISCOs) that emerged from the privatisation of the sector have continued to perpetrate this fraud against consumers. Despite the continuing poor supply of electricity, the DISCOs have continued to hike electricity tariff, especially of their unmetered customers and those whose meters malfunction. They circumvent the billing process by entrenching the estimated and crazy billing system since it translates to more money into their coffers even when they don’t provide electricity.
Their marketers are often given huge targets to meet. If the billing process is such that allows consumers to pay for only the quantity of electricity consumed, most areas would not be able to meet their target due to poor electricity supply. So, one of the dubious ways for the companies to eat their cake and still have it is through estimated billing. This allows them to spread the amount they expect to generate across their customers irrespective of the quantity of electricity consumed.
Usually the interest of the consumers are not taken into account as the DISCOs appropriate what they consider as the due monthly charges of their customers which they are bound to pay failure of which they would be disconnected. By so doing, the DISCOs are able to make huge revenue even when power supply is very poor.
This factor explains why the DISCOs are frustrating every attempt to provide adequate pre-paid meters for their customers or replace meters that malfunction. It is not the duty of consumers to repair or replace electricity meters.
The regulator of the sector, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), should henceforth desist from aiding the DISCOs to work against the interests of consumers. I demand that NERC should show commitment to the protection, rather than exploitation of electricity consumers in Nigeria.
Consumer Protection Council
In my view, the Consumer Protection Council (CPC) is not doing much to protect electricity consumers in Nigeria. It is time for the leadership of the agency to wake up from their slumber and call DISCOs to order.
Electricity Distribution Companies
The Electricity Distribution Companies (DISCOs) should make the universal provision of pre-paid metres a priority so that consumers can pay for actual electricity consumed as opposed to estimated billing. I demand an end to this barefaced fraud now.
I demand that electricity consumers in Nigeria should stand up for their rights and demand for best practices in the generation, transmission, distribution and billing of electricity. They can no longer continue to be at the mercy of the DISCOs. I say no to estimated or crazy bills.
Yes You Can Make A Change
Nigerian consumers are saying enough is enough. Do not sit on the fence; let us raise our voices against this exploitation and help to protect ourselves as consumers. To join the ‘No to Estimated Billing Campaign’, please complete the form below.
You can also invite your equally exploited friends and neighbours to sign the campaign to end the DISCOs’ exploitation of Nigerian electricity consumers.