REP’S BILL SEEKS REFUND FOR ELECTRICITY CONSUMERS.
The House of Representatives is proposing that money spent by electricity consumers to acquire and maintain electrical facilities connected to the national grid be refunded by the distribution company.
The distribution companies will be solely responsible for the purchase and maintenance of facilities in the electricity distribution network, as being proposed by the House.
It is common to see electricity consumers, under the umbrella of community development association, contributing money to acquire facilities, particularly transformers, cables and poles.
When the bill is passed into law, consumers will be able to file claims for refund by the service providers.
The legislation is coming about same time when the House considered and passed a bill to criminalize estimated billing, also known as ‘crazy bill.’
The House is now considering the Electric Power Sector Reform Act (Amendment) Bill, 2019, which was sponsored by a member, Rep Ben Rollands Igbakpa which has passed first reading in July.
Our correspondent obtained a copy of the proposed law, titled ‘A bill for an act to amend the Electric Power Sector Reforms Act to provide for the electricity distribution company to reimburse any power consumer who incurs expenses in the acquisition and maintenance of electricity apparatus connected to the national grid in Nigeria and for related matters.’
In the explanatory note, Rep Igbakpa said, “This bill seeks to amend the Electric Power Sector Reform Act to provide for the electricity distribution company to reimburse any power consumer who incurs expenses in the acquisition and maintenance of electricity apparatus connected to the national grid.”
The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission will be responsible for the enforcement of the proposed law, according to the bill.
The proposed amendment to Section 100 (1) of the Act defines “apparatus” as “machines, equipment and fittings associated with the generation, transmission, distribution and utilisation of electrical energy, e.g. cables, transformers, etc.”
introduced in Subsection 1, which reads, “…to ensure that consumers who incur expenses in lieu of distribution licensees in the acquisition and maintenance of electricity apparatus connected to the national grid are adequately compensated.”
Subsection 2(c) of the Act will also be deleted and replaced to “establish appropriate consumer rights and obligations regarding the provision and use of electric services as well as compelling the distribution company to refund any consumer who incurs expenses in the course of electric services.”
A new ‘Paragraph H’ would also be introduced to “determine the appropriate compensation accruing to a consumer pursuance to Subsection 1(g) in the event of dispute with the distribution company.”
To empower the NERC, under Section 62 Subsection 6 of the Act would also be amended to have a new ‘Paragraph H’ that read, “The Commission shall have the power to compel a distribution licensee to pay compensation to consumer who incurs expenses in the acquisition or maintenance of electricity apparatus hitherto the responsibility of the distribution licensee.”
The proposed amendment to Section 87 would impose fine for non-payment of money owed a consumer by the distribution company.
The Subsection read, “(i) Any person who fails to pay to the commissioner or a distribution licensee, within the prescribed time period, any amount owing under this Part shall be liable to a fine not exceeding three times the verified amount owed.
“(ii) Where a distribution licensee fails to pay the verified claims of expenses incurred by the consumer in lieu of the licensee’s responsibility of acquisition and maintenance of electricity apparatus connected to the national grid, such consumer shall be entitled by way of reimbursement to have his pre-paid meter credited in the total sum of the money owed, provided that this subsection shall not apply where the distribution licensee had settled the verified claim or there had been a set-off from the entitlements of the licensee under Section 86 in satisfaction of the verified claim.”