Bill to criminalize estimated billings not feasible- NCPN President

The move to criminalize the issuance of estimated electricity billings to consumers maybe hampered at the level of implementation so says the President of the Nigeria Consumer Protection Network, NCPN, Mr. Kunle Kola Olubiyo.

Olubiyo, who was a Member of the National Technical Investigative Panel on Power System Collapses and System Stability, said, although, the intention of the bill framers is good, but the implementation may not work due to complications.

The NPCN president disclosed this while playing guest on an anti-corruption radio program,Public Conscience on Radio produced by the Progressive Impact Organisation for Community Development, PRIMORG, in Abuja yesterday.

He suggested that instead, “What the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC ought to do is ‘Capping’ of estimated bill, which they’ve done, but haven’t enforced.”

He revealed that the NCPN will soon commence work with the National Assembly, especially on practicable things like providing power that will improve economic growth via a holistic and intellectual point of view.

Explaining some of the complications in going through with the criminalizing process, Olubiyo said the Distribution Companies, DisCos, by its nature and equity, are listed on the stock exchange just for formality, but are not ope-rationalized in reality.

He later commended NERC for their assertive efforts to withdraw the licenses of non-functional Discos, but criticized the National Assembly for interfering with the actions of the Regulators, that NERC cannot stop the operation of non-performing power distributors.

“Those Discos that cannot perform, we should dilute their equity, or let them shape out, not by dancing through the issue by calling for direct criminalization of the bill which in turn, means that there must be meter.” He said.

Olubiyo further noted that a major setback is the consumers who are nonchalant about knowing the steps to correct this anomaly.

He recalled that town hall meetings have been organized in Apo, Kuje, Gwagwalada and Lugbe to sensitize consumers, but revealed that electricity consumers showed little or no interest.

Responding to some of the questions on billings by callers in the course of the programme, the NCPN Boss advised consumers to request for their account history after acquiring and installing the prepaid meter, hinting that both the new and former billing accounts be taken to Discos for reconciliation.

Public Conscience on Radio is a weekly one-hour phone-in interactive radio programme on accountability and anti-corruption campaign in Nigeria, and supported by the MacArthur Foundation. 

Amadin Idahosa

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