- NERC has a set of rules guiding the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) and some of these rules are there to protect both distribution companies and their customers.
- The highlighted rules which are meant to protect both parties cut across electricity supply connections, to meter readings in cases of relocation and disconnection of customers.
- In April 2023, NERC also released an electricity service charter guiding the activities of electricity utilities.
The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has provided a set of rules that protect both the customer and the electricity distribution companies (DisCos) in charge of providing power to all customers across the country. In its 2023 Customer Protection Regulations, NERC issues some rules guiding operations in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI). Some of the rules include:
New connection and metering
If as a customer, you require an electricity connection, you will provide all the connection materials according to the standards provided by your distribution company. Meanwhile, your distribution company is responsible for facilitating the connection from the point of supply to the metering point within 48 hours.
But the distribution company will provide the meter and metering accessories for the connection to ensure proper billing. The DisCos will not charge the customer for the survey, inspection, testing and commission of electricity supply to the premises.
However, the DisCo reserves the right to refuse to connect a customer to electricity supply, if they fail to provide an acceptable means of identification or refuses to pay the security deposit requested by the DisCo.
The DisCo is required to disconnect electricity supply to a customer’s premises if there is a default in payment by the specified payment date which should be clearly stated on the bill which should be delivered physically, by electronic mail or text message.
The payment should be made within 10 days of bill delivery to the customer. The period between the payment date and the date of scheduled disconnection for nonpayment should not be less than 2 working days.
However, if the customer has an existing payment arrangement with the DisCo, and in cases where a life support system is in use, the latter cannot disconnect the customer. If somehow, the electricity supply is disconnected in these scenarios, the DisCo will compensate the customer with energy credits, for each day the disconnection lasts.
Final meter reading
If a customer who uses a prepaid meter is relocating from the premises, the DisCo should be invited to do a final meter reading to ensure that there is no backlog of payments. If the DisCo has made an appointment with a customer for a final meter reading and is unable to access the meter due to the fault of the customer, the DisCo will disconnect the electricity supply of said customer and give a final bill to the customer.
The customer must pay the debt and the DisCo is at liberty to recover the debt from the customer. On no account should the debt be transferred to a new occupant, should there be a later relocation of the defaulting customer.
What you should know
In April 2023, NERC released an electricity service charter where it stated that all electricity consumers who are yet to be metered, have the right to transparent billing and should be billed based on capping estimates.
- The charter also states that unmetered consumers must also be notified ahead of any plans to disconnect them from the electricity service. Unmetered customers also have the right to file complaints about their electricity bills and Discos must investigate such complaints. Discos should also refund consumers who have been overbilled.