NERC Orders Abuja Disco to Refund N50m to Customers for Overbilling

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Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission has ordered the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company to refund N50m to its consumers in the Federal Capital Territory for overbilling despite erratic power supply.

The Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, NERC, Dr. Sam Amadi said this in response to a query issued by the Senate on fixed charge, estimated billing and sundry issues.

Amadi said “The commission has recently penalised Abuja Electricity Distribution Company for overbilling its customers and ordered it to refund the overbilled amount and apologise to the customers for the wrongful estimation.

“Abuja Electricity Distribution Company has refunded about 32,000 customers so affected. The refund has ranged between 5,000and 15,000 per customer, adding up to over N50m.”

On the issue of bulk billing, he said “It is important to state that the commission had previously abolished bulk billing in its ruling on the VGC CASE NO:NERC/H/03/07 (copy attached). This case was brought by a customer against the VGC Estate Management and the Eko Electricity Distribution Company in 2008.

“The commission ruled in favour of the customer. The decision of the commission stipulated that the every customer is expected to be metered individually irrespective of the status of supply coming into the area and the class of billing should be on R2 or as appropriately determined by the disco.

“The commission has however provided a leeway for estimation in situations where residential metres are not provided to customers. This is provided in the Estimated Billing Methodology Regulation of the commission.

“In this instance, statistical meters installed at transformer sub stations are used to calculate the energy to be used as basis for estimating customers on the feeders.

“Communities who are placed on bulk billing should reject it and insist on individual metering. The commission is in the process of completing public consultation on a proposal to cap the amount an unmetered customer can pay until he or she is metered.

“The proposal will also commit distribution companies to strict deadline for metering of all its customers. In the interim, the Commission has abolished connection of new customers without meters.”

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