The Chairman, Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, Mr. Sam Amadi, has said that electricity consumers can petition the agency against arbitrary billing by electricity distribution companies.
Amadi was speaking against the backdrop of complaints by post-paid electricity consumers in Lagos and Ogun states that they had been billed arbitrarily by distribution companies.
“Consumers can petition us once they are convinced that they have been billed arbitrarily,” Amadi told our correspondent on the telephone on Sunday.
Many of the customers complained that they received over 300 per cent increase in their June bills, following an approval by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission for a tariff increase with effect from June 1. The customers described their electricity bills for June (payable in July) as arbitrary, unjustifiable, and outrageous.
A businesswoman under Ojo Business District of the PHCN, residing at Okokomaiko, Mrs. Dorothy Ikeh, told our correspondent that the June bill was the “highest my family had ever received from PHCN.”
Ikeh, who runs a shop in front of a bungalow built by her husband, said before now, the entire house solely occupied by the family, had never paid over N3,000 as electricity bill.
She said, “What we saw last week shocked everybody. They just came with a N9,500 bill and told us that everything had changed. This is an increase of 217 per cent. The funniest part of it was that there was no sign that electricity supply improved in June, and even there was a time we did not have supply for five days. It was total darkness.”
Another customer in the Ikotun area of Lagos, who asked not to be named, said that his post-paid bill shot up from N7, 000 to N21,000 in July, an increase of 200 per cent.
“I had been complaining that the N7,000 bill I was given as at June was high, but at the beginning of July, I was sent a new bill of N21,000 for electricity consumed in a month in a three-bedroom apartment,” the customer said.
However, the Chief Executive Officer, Eko Electricity Distribution Company, Mr. Chris Akamnonu, while answering questions from our correspondent, said, “We are trying to stop arbitrary billings. We want to ensure that anyone that will be given estimated bills won’t just get any amount.
“We are employing a scientific and objective methodology, which will allocate bills based on supply to feeders. Customers will not have to pay for electricity not consumed any longer.”