Power: Consumers urged to use complaint offices

Electricity consumers have been urged to seek redress for poor service delivery through effective utilization of the forum offices being commissioned in distribution centres across the country to tackle consumers’ electricity complaints.

Speaking during the official commissioning of Eko forum office in Lagos yesterday, the Chairman, House Committee on Diaspora Affairs, and a member of House Committee on Power, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, charged Nigerians and indeed Lagosians to take advantage of the forum office provided for consumers to have a say in what happens with regards to electricity supply.

Hon. Dabiri-Erewa, who maintained that consumers had the right to complain and seeks redress, also expressed hope that the newly commissioned edifice would take care of some consumer issues like billing, metering.
“One thing you should know is that if you have a problem with your meter, they should get it solved within five days. But I do not know whether that is happening, now with the set up of this Eko forum I hope that will happen.

“And I think one of the major problems of consumers has to do with metering, all of sudden meters have disappeared. They are supposed to put meters in your houses but they tell you they do not have them, especially in rural areas.
“So I want you to go to the rural areas and ensure that meters are supplied so that the billing problems will stop. But most important is the awareness that this service is there, and let everybody take advantage of this service that NERC is providing, because more often than not we just discovered we are not asking questions.

“And NERC is telling you through Eko Disco that it is your right to seek redress. It is your right to complain. It is your right to be served. And I know that this will be done under  this district” she said.
Speaking at th event, the Chairman, Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Dr Sam Amadi, said the Eko office was the second level of appeal in the chain of consumer complaints.

He  added that issues beyond the forum were to be handled at the final appeal stage by the NERC.
Amadi, who was represented by the Commissioner, Government and Consumer Affairs, of NERC, Dr Abba Ibrahim, further stated that the office would significantly reduce the incidence of protracted and expensive litigations.
He congratulated the newly inaugurated forum members who had been chosen to serve in this national assignment.

“Just a year ago the Ikeja customer’s forum was commissioned; this shows the commitment of NERC towards effective consumer’s right on electricity supply chain to reform the sector,” he said.
He said the commissioning of the customers forum was to ensure that electricity customers had value for their money.
“I am aware they members of the form were chosen based on their qualifications, integrity and depth of experience. This call to duty will require transparency, teamwork, fairness, consistency and the deployment of their professional experience.

“I wish you the best of luck and God’s guidance in the discharge of your assignment.’’
He said the commission strives to ensure that vulnerable consumers were fully protected from exploitation by service providers.
“Vital consumer issues like billing, metering, connectivity, price often create disputes between consumers and the service provider.”

He said in line with the Commission’s mandate as provided in Section 32, 80, 83 and the powers conferred on it in Section 96 (1) of the Electric Power Sector Reform (EPSR) Act 2005, NERC had developed the Customer Complaints Redress Mechanism (CCRM) for handling customers’ complaints.

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