18th May, 2012
Chairman of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Dr. Sam Amadi, says provision has been made for free installation of meters in the new electricity tariff proposed by the Federal Government. The new regime takes off on June 1.
He said the electricity distribution companies have been ordered to provide meters for their customers between 12 to 18 months, starting from June 1. He said only a connection fee would now be paid for meters of N5,000 by customers.
Amadi said this when he visited the customer services centre of the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company.
He said the new tariff was a bitter pill Nigerians should endure for improved electricity supply which calls for better services from the distribution companies and accurate billing system.
According to the NERC boss, customer service is the core of the new tarrif order.
He said: “I think the Nigerian people will understand our predicament if we improve on our customer service. That is why we have made customer care the niche of the new tariff. We can really improve in terms of transparency and accountability especially in billing.
“We (NERC) will be having periodic check on the distribution companies because this is the most important component of the Multi-Year Tariff Order. Every CEO of the companies should ensure they have a forum office where customers’ complaints can be dealt with.”
A forum office constitutes member(s) of staff of the distributor company, NERC and civil society organisation who would address complaints from electricity consumers who did not get satisfactory attention from the PHCN.
He said it was illegal for communities to buy transformers, adding that it was the job of the PHCN to do so. He, however, said governments at all levels could do so to empower the people and upon installation, it becomes the property of the PHCN.
Chief Executive officer of the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company, Engineer Abdulganiyu Umar, corroborated Amadi’s position, saying, “It is illegal for communities to buy transformers and it is also illegal for any PHCN staff to collect money from people in the name of procuring transformers for them.
“If anyone has evidence of such incident against my staff, we should be notified and we will deal with it.”
He warned PHCN customers to be wary of crooks who masquerade as community helpers to defraud them of money, insisting that “PHCN has not authorised anybody to collect money on its behalf.”