Electricity consumers in the north western part of Nigeria have urged the National Assembly to find a way of ensuring that Distribution companies reduce the excessive charges being given to them, especially estimated bills.
The Customers spoke turn by turn during an interactive session with the House of Representatives Ad-hoc committee to curb excessive electricity charges being levied on consumers under the Kano Electricity Distribution Company and the Kaduna Electric. Both companies handle electricity distribution in the North west.
One of the consumers who spoke at the session, Dr. Yunusa Murtala regretted the supplying of faulty meters to electricity consumers which brought about unnecessarily accumulated billing. He said the illegal act made it extremely difficult for consumers to comprehend the authentic billing system.
Mr Abubakar Dangora complained of excessive tariff imposed by KEDCO at the rural communities, especially consumers with lower consuming appliances.
Dr. Musa Ahmed from Sokoto state complained about inadequate supply of electricity yet consumers are being given extraneous bills, ditto inadequate supply of meter, lack of communication during load shedding among others by the Kaduna Electric.
They unanimously called on the National Assembly to come up with solution to their challenges which bothers mostly on overbilling and metering.
The Chairman of the ad-hoc committee, Israel Ajibola, said that the House decided to embark on this interactive session across the six geopolitical zones to ascertain allegations against DISCO’s.
According to him, those allegations includes excessive billing, Disco’s refusal to meter them/preference for crazy estimated billing, non-compliance with the connection/ reconnection regulations, installation of manipulated pre-paid meters among others.
“As we all know that steady power supply is a prerequisite to overcoming poverty, economic growth, development and attaining reasonable standard of living.
“One of the major achievements of these interactive sessions across the nation is to forestalling the looming break down of law and order in the country,” said Israel.
He said the committee’s recommendation will determine the House position on the bill sponsored by the House leader, Femi Gbajabiamila, to criminalize estimated billing.
Chief Operating Officer of the KEDCO, Mr. Raul Sing, explained that they have since metered over 65,000 Households which translate to covering 50/60 percent Customers.
Raul denied collecting excessive Tariff from Customers adding that his Company still maintained 2015 National Electricity Regulatory Commission charges directives.
The Chief Customer Relations Officer of KEDCO, Abubakar Yusuf stated that the company will engage in more enlightenment campaign for consumers to understand the issues surrounding estimated billing as there is nothing criminal about it, stressing that over 95 percent of meters it acquired have been distributed to customers and more are being expected.
The representative of the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission at the forum Mr. Osita Chukwu said consumers are always advised to negotiate with the distribution companies in areas of doubt on their bills.
He however said: “The issue of estimated billing without meter which is the bone of contention at the forum will soon be over as private companies are being engage to mass produce the meter.”
He said companies home and abroad numbering up to 35 have indicated interest and more are being expected to be produced across the country.
“We are thinking that by January 2019 the challenges would have been reduced as the private companies begin to supply the meters.
It is meant to close the over 4.5 million metering gap currently existing in the country and equally reduce the pressure on the distribution companies whose financial muscles cannot finance metering the whole consumers in the country,” explained Osita.