The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has fined four electricity distribution companies (Discos) millions of naira as penalty for their failure to satisfactorily treat various service complaints of their customers as well as submit statutory quarterly reports of their operations to it.
NERC said in a statement yesterday in Abuja that the Discos – Ibadan, Ikeja, Port Harcourt and Enugu – breached the terms and conditions of their licences and provisions of the Electric Power Sector Reform Act 2005.
It said their offences also breached its regulations on their operations, hence the fine.
NERC said it had communicated the fine to the affected Discos, and expects them to pay the fines within two weeks, beginning from July 25, 2016, when the directives were signed by its acting Chairman, Dr. Anthony Akah, and General Manager, Legal, Licencing and Enforcement, Mrs. Olufunke Dinneh.
The statement explained that the fines equally attract five per cent daily interests until remedial steps are taken by the Discos.
It said two of the erring companies, Port Harcourt and Enugu Discos, were sanctioned for their failure to submit quarterly reports on their key performance indicators, whereas Ibadan and Ikeja were fined over failure to attend to customers’ complaints severally referred to them.
According to the statement, Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC) flouted the Electric Power Sector Reform (EPSR) Act 2005, its licensing terms and conditions as well as NERC Customer Complaints Handling: Standards and Procedures (CCHSP) Regulation 2006.
“The commission received several complaints directly from electricity customers in IBEDC operational jurisdiction, based on which same was forwarded via letters dated October 27, 2015, and April 15, 2016, to IBEDC’s Customer Care Unit for resolution, in line with CCHSP, 2006.
“However, IBEDC failed or refused to comply with the commission’s request/directive to resolve the customer complaints in accordance with the provisions of the CCSHP 2006,” NERC said.
It noted that IBEDC was subsequently fined N10,000 on each of the three grounds of misdemeanour beginning from April 22, 2016, till July 25, 2016, which totalled N2, 850,000 due for payment within two weeks beginning from the July date when the directives were signed.
It said Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company (IKEDC) was found guilty on three grounds of violating its licencing terms and conditions, EPSR Act 2005 and CCHSP that compel it to obey every directive of the commission, treat customers complaints within a stipulated time frame as well as oblige the regulator every information sought from the company.
The company was, therefore, fined N10,000 per day on each of the three grounds of misdemeanour beginning from April 22, 2016 till July 25, 2016 when the directive was signed.
“Failure to pay the fines within the stipulated time shall attract additional interest of five per cent per day until the total fine is paid,” said NERC.
It added that both Enugu and Port Harcourt Discos were found liable for their failures to submit quarterly reports on their key performance indicatiors which run contrary to terms and conditions of their licence, Section 63 (1) of the EPSR Act 2005.
“By failing to submit third quarter report in 2015, the commission hereby fines PHEDC N10, 000 per day from July 15, 2015, to July 25, 2016, giving a total of N3, 760, 000; by failing to submit fourth quarter report in 2015, the commission fines PHEDC N10, 000 per day from October 15, 2015, to July 25, 2016, giving a total of N2, 840, 000; by failing to submit first quarter report in 2016, the commission fines PHEDC N10,000 per day from January N10,000 per day giving a total of N1,920,000.
“Grand total of the fines payable by PHEDC within the next two weeks beginning from July 25, 2016 ,when the directive was signed is N8,520,000,” the statement explained.
NERC said Enugu Disco was fined a total of N13, 190, 000 for failing to submit quarterly reports on four different instances and failed to heed warnings and overtures from the commission to submit reports.
“By failing to submit second quarter report of 2015, the commission hereby fines EEDC N10, 000 per day from April 15, 2015, to July 25, 2106, giving a total of N4, 670, 000; by failing to submit third quarter report in 2015, the commission fines EEDC N10, 000 per day from July 15, 2016, to July 25, 2016, giving a total of N3, 760, 000; by failing to submit fourth quarter report in 2015 the commission fines EEDC N10, 000 per day from October 15, 2015, to July 25, 2016, giving a total of N2, 840, 000; by failing to submit first quarter report in 2016, the commission fines EEDC N10, 000 per day from January 15, 2016 giving a total of N1, 920, 000,” NERC explained.
The statement quoted Akah to have said that the fines imposed on the erring companies were in line with NERC’s schedule of fines and EPSR Act 2005.
He also advised electricity customers to treat staff of Discos with respect and not take law into their hands in resolving disputes with their service providers.