The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) says it is illegal for electricity distribution companies (DisCos) to disconnect customers from the power supply without a 10-day prior notice from the date of bill delivery.
According to the Newsmen, Babatunde Irukera, executive vice-chairman of the commission, said this on Wednesday in Calabar.
The regulation is contained in the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC’s) regulation on Connection and Disconnection Procedures for Electricity Service (CDPES).
Expressing dissatisfaction with the service provided by Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (PHEDC) in Calabar and its environs, Irukera said that investigation by the commission showed that PHEDC had not fared well in providing power supply to its consumers commensurate with their bills.
He said that the reports they received on many issues included mass disconnection carried out by the company without recourse to the law.
“I want to convey to you the incredible displeasure of the people of Cross River, according to them, especially the governor, if they have their way, they will prefer that PHEDC does not operate in the state,” Irukera said.
“If this is the view about your business, then I don’t think that business will survive.
“The massive disconnection of communities because of debt is not only illegal, it is outrageous and an abuse of the people’s right. Disconnecting the whole community is oppressive.
“There are people in that same community that are consistent with payment of bills, so it is unfair and an injustice to also disconnect them.
“Any business that cannot satisfy its consumers is preparing to die; allowing consumers to pay tariffs without commensurate electricity supply is against the law.
“The problem of compelling consumers to pay electricity bills is tantamount to oppressing and extorting money illegally from consumers.
“The internal mechanism for assessing scorecard of electricity companies is not by a collection of tariffs, rather it is customer satisfaction that matters.”
Irukera said a situation where DisCos cut power supply for days and still issues bills covering that same period was “exploitative.”
He also explained that it was illegal for consumers to buy transformers that would later become the property of the DisCo.