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FCCPC backs NERC’s N10.5bn fine on DisCos, seeks stricter measures to curb regulatory infractions

FCCPC backs NERC’s N10.5bn fine on DisCos, seeks stricter measures to curb regulatory infractions
February 12
14:30 2024

Three days after electricity distribution firms (DisCos) were sanctioned, the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) has asked the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to consider stricter measures to avoid future regulatory infractions by the companies.

The commission made the recommendation in a statement on Monday, signed by Adamu Abdullahi, acting executive vice-chairman of FCCPC.

On February 9, 2024, the NERC had asked 11 DisCos to pay a N10.5 billion fine as part of its sanctions for arbitrary billing of unmetered customers and non-compliance with the capping of estimated bills.

Reacting to the development on Monday, Abdullahi backed NERC’s action against the DisCos.

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He said considering stronger measures such as increased financial penalties, stricter enforcement mechanisms, and even the revocation of operating licences for persistent offenders, will go a long way to deter violations.

He said the decisive measure aligned with the mandate of the commission.

Abdullahi said the 2018 FCCPC Act (FCCPA) empowered the commission to protect consumers from obnoxious practices or unscrupulous exploitation by companies, firms, trade associations or individuals, and demand redress.

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“We stand in solidarity with NERC in its commitment to safeguard unmetered customers from arbitrary billing by DisCo,“ the statement reads.

“The capping regulation was a significant step towards ensuring fairer treatment for those without meters, and the FCCPC fully supports its enforcement.

“The FCCPC reiterates its unwavering commitment to ensuring a better deal for electricity consumers in Nigeria.

“Apart from its routine resolution of electricity consumer complaints, the commission will continue to organise electricity consumer platforms across the country.

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“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.”

Abdullahi said the FCCPC believes that fundamental reforms were necessary to address the systemic challenges facing the sector, “including metering gaps, billing malpractices, and inadequate customer service”.

The acting executive vice-chairman encouraged consumers who have been shortchanged by estimated bills to lodge complaints with their respective DisCos, and intensify such to NERC or the FCCPC, when not satisfactorily resolved.

Abdullahi assured of FCCPC’s commitment to investigating all legitimate complaints and securing redress for consumers to ensure fair treatment,  accurate billing, and quality service. 

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