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Name: Usman Abba Arabi

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NERC laments injuries/ deaths at EEDC

... Opens 17th Forum Office

The Acting Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Dr Anthony Akah, mni has decried the worrisome safety records of accidents in the Enugu Electricity Distribution Network (EEDC) . There has been a record of 14 deaths and 5 injuries in 2016 alone.

He also frowned at EEDC’s violation of its performance agreements, noting its flagrant violation/ disregard of Commission’s directives on mass disconnection of communities as well as high incidences of high estimated billing resulting from inadequate electricity metering of its customers. Amongst these violation was EEDC’s failure to submit inventory data for 2016 to the Commission; hence it was slammed with a fine to the tune of 13 million naira this year.

Commenting further on other service failures by the utility company, Akah said, ‘’ It is on record that within the period of January to September, 2016, Enugu Electricity Distribution Company recorded over 2,466 unresolved electricity complaints from electricity customers who were dissatisfied with services rendered’’.

However, the Commission in ensuring electricity customers within EEDC’s network would henceforth have a fast track resolution of their electricity complaints has opened the Owerri Electricity Customer Complaints Forum Office. This makes it the 17th Forum office to be opened. Forum Offices are the second stage in the Commission’s redress making procedures. It handles unresolved complaints from the customers care unit of electricity distribution companies.

Meanwhile the Forum members are appointed among representatives of all customers’ classes including industrial, commercial and residential customers.

Justifying the Commission’s decision to establish more of such forum offices, Akah said, ‘’ This Forum Office is no respecter of class, rights are equal’’ Akah said. He called on electricity customers across the country to desist from taking electricity complaints to court; advising those with electricity issues to approach the Forum when dissatisfied with a Disco’s action.

According to him, a situation where the Forum Office is by-passed by consumers for the court, the court will not allow the Commission to do its duties in that regard, even as he explained that Discos can also bring complaints against customers.

Akah concluded that the growth and development of the electricity sector remains a joint responsibility of both operators and electricity customers as such, the establishment of Owerri electricity Customer Complaints Forum Offce, as well as other Forum Offices across the country is part NERC’s drive at quick resolution of electricity complaints.

Meanwhile electricity customers within the EEDC distribution network have expressed their concern regarding the time frame taken by the company to resolve electricity issue, declaring it as dissatisfactory, and urged the Commission to ensure the Discos do the right thing always and to ensure that the distribution company respond urgently to customers’ complaints.

The customers also reacted to an announcement by the EEDC’s on its planned meter roll-out that would see to the injection of about 100,000 meters into its network on an annual basis for the next 5 years, declaring that they were going to monitor the company in the regard to ensure that they keep their promise to consumers.

Dr. Usman Abba Arabi - Head, Public Affairs Department