Group wants consumer rights’ inclusion in electricity bill

Mr Princewill Okorie, National Coordinator, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Electricity Consumers Protection Advocacy Group, has called on the National Assembly (NASS) to include electricity consumers’ right in bill.

He made the call in Abuja on Thursday at the Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) version of the FCT Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Electricity Consumers Protection Advocacy programme.

Okorie, who is also the National President, Association for Public Policy Analysis (APPA),  appealed to NASS to include electricity consumer’s right in the new Electricity Bill it is about to pass.

“I call on the National Assembly that is about to approve  a new Electricity Bill, 2022, to look into the matter seriously because it bothers on economic and safety of Nigerians.

“It will be contradictory for us to prosecute, try and punish those who individually steal from other citizens and use bureaucracy or law to protect corporate organisations,” he said.

According to him, the overall objective of the national MSME electricity consumer protection advocacy programme is to intervene through advocacy and capacity building programmes for business membership organisations.

“It is with a view to exposing them to the provisions of consumer protection component of Electric Power Sector Reform Act, 2005,” he said.

Okorie said that in order to address the issue of electricity consumers’ right, the theme of the event “Developing Grassroots Based Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) through Electricity Consumer Protection Education” was selected.

He said in order to resolve the issues properly, relevant stakeholders made presentations on various topics.

He said that in addition, a book titled: “Basic challenges of Safety and Quality Standards in Electricity sector’’ was published.

On his part, Mr Oluwale Fasanya, Director-General of Small, Medium Enterprises Development Agency (SMEDAN), said that the theme of the programme was apt as it involved MSME at the grassroots.

Fasanya, represented by Mrs Mary Kolawole, Manager, Federal Capital Territory (FCT) SMEDAN, said that the programme was an opportunity for electricity consumers to be aware of their rights and obligations.

In her Keynote Address, Mrs Janet Odo, Assistant Director, Consumer Education, Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), said that the commission recognised the valuable role played by the MSME in nation’s economy.

Odo said that the MSMEs were number one driver of the economy by providing jobs to many and had also been the source of livelihood to many households.

She said that the commission also recognised the challenges of power supply faced by FCT residents, especially its impact on micro, small and medium enterprises.

“Not only is the supply inadequate, but also many are groaning under the burden of excessive billing or tariff.

“Being aware that every penny inputted into the business affects overall turnover, the commission is working hard to ensure that the consumer gets value for every electricity product paid for.

“But the question remains “how can one accurately measure consumption to know whether it is under payment or over payment of bills/tariffs?’’

“This is where consumer education comes in,” he added.

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