THE Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) has backed the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) for sanctioning 11 Electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) for overbilling more than seven million of their customers in Nigeria.
The FCCPC also seeks stronger sanctions for erring DisCos to deter future violations.
The ICIR reported that NERC, as part of its regulatory role, sanctioned 11 DisCos for overbilling their customers.
Consequently, the NERC imposed a N10.5 billion fine on the DisCos.
A statement by Adamu Abdullahi, the Acting Executive Vice Chairman of FCCPC in Abuja on Monday, February 12, urged NERC to consider stronger measures to deter future violations.
Abdullahi said the stronger measures could include increased financial penalties, stricter enforcement mechanisms, and even the revocation of operating licenses for persistent offenders.
He said the punishments aligned with the commission’s mandate.
Abdullahi said the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Act (FCCPA) 2018 empowered the commission to protect consumers from obnoxious practices or unscrupulous exploitation by companies, firms, trade associations, or individuals and to demand redress.
“We stand in solidarity with NERC in its commitment to safeguard unmetered customers from arbitrary billing by DisCos.
“The capping regulation was a significant step towards ensuring fairer treatment for those without meters, and the FCCPC fully supports its enforcement,” he added.
The FCCPC assured commitment towards a better deal for electricity consumers in Nigeria.
Abdullahi noted that apart from its routine resolution of electricity consumer complaints, the commission would continue to organise electricity consumer platforms across the country.
“These platforms have provided invaluable opportunities for consumers to voice their complaints and receive instant responses and redress from DisCos and regulators, including the FCCPC,’’ he said.
Abdullahi said the commission believed that fundamental reforms were necessary to address the sector’s systemic challenges, including metering gaps, billing malpractices, and inadequate customer service.
He encouraged consumers shortchanged by estimated bills to lodge complaints with their respective DisCos and intensify such complaints to NERC or the FCCPC when they were not satisfactorily resolved.
“We are committed to investigating all legitimate complaints and securing redress for consumers.”
Harrison Edeh is a journalist with the International Centre for Investigative Reporting, always determined to drive advocacy for good governance through holding public officials and businesses accountable.