The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) said it has banned the mass disconnection of electricity debtors by the 11 Distribution companies (Discos) just as the firms said they are only cutting off long-term debtors.
NERC in a website publication yesterday said it learnt of mass disconnection of electricity supply to communities, villages, and estates by the Discos based on the non-payment of electricity bills.
It urged the operators to comply with the provision of section 5 -11 of the Regulation on Connection and Disconnection for Electricity Services 2007 noting that it has banned mass disconnection of electricity customers.
NERC said: “Electricity customers who pay their bills should not be disconnected via a mass disconnection of his/her community, blocks of flats estate etc.”
Any of such customers wrongfully disconnected from electricity supply should report to the commission for its further action, the notice read.
Any mass disconnection carried out by the Distribution companies in contravention of the provisions of the above regulation is illegal and should be reported, NERC told customers
The regulation obtained by Daily Trust specified that residents wrongfully disconnected were to be compensated with N1,000 for each day of the period they were affected. The penalty is N1,500 for commercial and N2,000 for industrial consumers.
However, dismissing the claims, the Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors (ANED) said its members complied with the regulation and were only disconnecting the historic debtors.
ANED spokesman, Barr. Sunday Oduntan, clarified it to this reporter saying “We are not disconnecting those who are paying their bills; we are only disconnecting mass historic debtors.
“We will continue to do mass disconnection of historic debtors. If there are 501 households and 500 are debtors, we will disconnect the 500 and leave out the one household,” Oduntan said.
Daily Trust reports that the Discos issued published notices to their historic debtors owing over N70 million to significantly pay within 10 working days before the disconnection began last month.
Source: Daily Trust