How communities can recover funds spent on transformer repairs, other equipments

THE Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has advised any community intending to fix issues about transformers, cable poles or any other electricity distribution equipment to reach an agreement with the electricity distribution company (DisCo) operating its respective franchise area.

It has become a common occurrence for DisCos and communities to engage in altercations over repairing faulty transformers and erecting electric poles, among other issues.

Owing to the fact that DisCos spend eternity to respond to consumers’ complaints on faulty equipment, many communities take it upon themselves to fix whatever the fault is, and then expect the respective DisCo to effect reimbursement.

At some point, the  Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) stressed the point that DisCos, and not consumers, were responsible for buying, replacing, or repairing transformers and other electrical equipment used in power distribution.

Speaking during an enlightenment and protection workshop for staff of the FCCPC and the National Orientation Agency (NOA) on July 19, NERC’s Principal Manager of Market Competition and Rates, Chigozie Valerie Azikiwe, stated that electricity consumers of a community become investors in the DisCo operating the franchise of their area when they use their own funds to buy or repair equipment.

Azikiwe said such consumers deserve to be paid back through energy units of the same value they spent.

She advised that consumers in such a community intending to engage in such a project should have an agreement on reimbursement with the respective DisCo from the beginning of the project.






     

     

    “In terms of repayment, there is a process. One mistake a lot of people make is to purchase transformers or poles without discussing with their DisCo. The right process is to talk to the DisCo before purchasing the transformer.”

    “The repayment is not cash. What is obtainable now is energy credit, but you must follow the process of engaging the network owner from day one,” she said.

    Also, NERC’s Assistant Manager on Consumer Affairs, Chukwunonso Okwuosa, while calling on participants at the workshop to be champions in informing consumers to follow the right process, noted that consumers did not know the regulations that protect their rights.

    He corroborated Azikiwe’s position that it is a form of investment for electricity consumers in DisCos when they install or repair their transformers or any other electricity distribution equipment themselves, as the DisCos were expected to repair such equipment in the first place.

    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.

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