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Name: Usman Abba Arabi

Phone: 09- 462.1408

Name: Samuel Ekeh
Phone: 09- 462.1408

Benin, Port Harcourt Discos Fined N6.2m Over Customer Complaints

The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission has fined Benin and Port Harcourt electricity distribution companies Six Million, Two Hundred and Twenty Thousand Naira (N6, 220, 000. 00) over their failure to comply with the decisions of Forum Offices rulings in complaints filed by their respective customers.

The Commission in Directive 153 imposed a Five Million and Ten Thousand Naira (N5, 010, 000. 00) sanction on Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) for not complying with the decision of the Forum in complaints filed by Messrs Ikponmwosa Ogiesoba Barry; S. C. Ogoke; and F. E. Ubuane.

The Forum Office is made up of five members of the public and handles complaints that are unresolved at the customer complaint unit of electricity distribution companies.

Both Barry and Ubuane had filed complaints before the Benin Forum Office alleging fraudulent estimation of their electricity bills to which the Forum Office ruled in their favour, while Ogoke in his complaint contested the amount of fixed charge he was to pay the utility company.

However, Benin Disco ignored the directives of the Forum Office in those instances and the matter was subsequently referred to the Commission who issued Directives 153 upon completion of enforcement proceedings.

According to Directive 153, “The Commission hereby fines BEDC Ten Thousand Naira per day from April 14, 2016 to September 28, 2016 making a total (N1, 670, 000) One Million, Six Hundred and Seventy Thousand Naira Only” in each of the three instances bringing the fines to a grand total of (N5, 010, 000) Five Million and Ten Thousand Naira Only.

The Directive stipulates further, “The above notwithstanding, BEDC shall still comply with the Forum decisions” and that the fines should be paid within two weeks from September 28, 2016 when the Directive was signed after which it attracts five per cent interests daily.

In a related development, the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (PHEDC) in Directive 155 was sanctioned over its failure to comply with the Port Harcourt Forum Office decision in a complaint filed by one Toba Aremu Olugbemi.

The complainant had on May 11, 2016 lodged a complaint to and over non-availability of meter to which there was no response from PHED.

Further directive from the Forum Office was also not complied with in violation of Section 11 (6) of the NERC Customer Complaints Handling: Standards and Procedure Regulation 2006 and Section 63 (1) of the Electric Power Sector Reform Act 2005.

PHED was consequently fined (N10, 000. 00) Ten Thousand Naira per day from May 30, 2016 to September 28, 2016 when Directive 155 was signed. The company is expected to pay the total fine within two weeks after signing of the Directives and it subsequently attracts five per cent daily for defaulting.

Dr. Usman Abba Arabi - Head, Public Affairs Department