The Director-General, Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), Babatunde Irukera, has said any electricity distribution company that abuses the rights of consumers violates the law.
Irukera said this on Saturday, March 24, 2018 in Bwari, a satellite town in the Federal Capital Territory, during a Town Hall meeting on electricity distribution in the country, organised by the Council for residents of the area and its environs.
He said electricity is an essential public utility and should be recognised as such because every citizen deserves to enjoy the facility, noting that Nigerians had lived for a very long time with poor power supply and were dissatisfied.
According to him, “the greatest complaint in the power value chain is not whether enough power is generated or transmitted, but more of what happens in the distribution component of the value chain”.
The director general stated further: “People complain a lot more about the responsiveness of the distribution companies than whether they have power or not.
“People complain a lot more about whether the bills they are getting truly reflect their consumption or whether they are arbitrary, unreasonable and lacking any fundamental or rational support for how they are arrived at. People complain a lot more about being responsible and paying their bills yet they are being disconnected because they belong to a community or a group,” he added
Irukera noted that if electricity consumers who were paying their bills were disconnected alongside those who did not, the rights of those paying would have been violated.
He also said power was really about people, adding that people would only remain with the service they got for as long as they did not have another option, stressing that when people pay reluctantly for services, then it has become social extortion.
He told consumers they had certain responsibilities toward the companies, charging them to always pay their electricity bills responsibly. The director general also cautioned the public to stop short-changing the power distribution process during the town hall meeting. In his remarks, the Commissioner for Government and Consumer Affairs, Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission [NERC], Dr. Moses Ariga, assured that the Commission would be implementing the Meter Asset Provider Regulation that would put an end to many of their concerns