CEM REPORT, ENERGY | Electricity consumers in the country have been provided a guideline, covering electricity payment and disconnection.
The rules provided by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) also include metering and bill collection by the electricity distribution companies (DisCos) in charge of providing power to all customers across the country.
In its 2023 Customer Protection Regulations, NERC provides electricity consumers with a 12 days window to pay bills or face disconnection.
“The payment should be made within 10 days of bill delivery to the customer. The period between the payment date and the date of scheduled disconnection for nonpayment should not be less than 2 working days.
“The DisCo is required to disconnect the electricity supply to a customer’s premises if there is a default in payment by the specified payment date which should be clearly stated on the bill and should be delivered physically, by electronic mail, or text message.”
However, NERC state that the DisCo will compensate a disconnected customer in special cases.
“If the customer has an existing payment arrangement with the DisCo, and in cases where a life support system is in use, the latter cannot disconnect the customer. If somehow, the electricity supply is disconnected in these scenarios, the DisCo will compensate the customer with energy credits, for each day the disconnection lasts.”
The new rules also address the transfer of bills from an old occupant of a building to a new one.
The rules state that a prepaid meter customer moving out of a residence should contact the electricity distribution company (DisCo) for a final meter reading to ensure no outstanding payments.
It adds that if the DisCo is unable to access the meter due to the customer’s fault, the DisCo will disconnect the electricity supply and provide a final bill.
“The customer is responsible for paying the debt, and the DisCo can recover the debt from the customer. The debt should not be transferred to a new occupant if the defaulting customer relocates.”
Furthermore, for new connection and metering, the guidelines stipulate that a consumer will provide all the connection materials according to the standards provided by your distribution company for a new connection while the distribution company is responsible for facilitating the connection from the point of supply to the metering point within 48 hours.
Although, the distribution company will provide the meter and metering accessories for the connection to ensure proper billing.
It noted that the DisCos will not charge the customer for the survey, inspection, testing, and commission of electricity supply to the premises.
However, the DisCo reserves the right to refuse to connect a customer to an electricity supply, if they fail to provide an acceptable means of identification or refuse to pay the security deposit requested by the DisCo.