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FCCPC tasks Discos on quick response to customers’ complaints

FCCPC tasks Discos on quick response to customers’ complaints

***** Tasks IE on effective consumers service delivery

 

By Yusuf Yunus

 

The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) has advised distribution companies to design a quick response mechanism in addressing customers’ complaints within their networks.

Mr Adamu Abdullah, Acting Executive Chairman, FCCPC, made the urge on Saturday in Lagos at the end of a four-day one-stop-shop for addressing billing, metering, transformer, connection, disconnection, customer service and other electricity consumer issues in Ikeja Disco coverage areas.

The forum was organised by FCCPC.

Abdullah said that the highest number of complaints received by the commission was on power sector, which created more concerns to call for the forum.

Abdullah said that this also enables FCCPC, with the support of MacArthur Foundation to embark on a nationwide tour to meet the consumers and hear their complaints.

He said that the forum, an intervention to bring all the stakeholders together to listen to consumers’ complaints and resolve them.

The executive chairman added that FCCPC would also get commitment from Discos on a time-frame within which such complaints have to be resolved.

According to him, the commission also ensured that the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and the Nigerian Electricity Management Services Agency (NEMSA) joined in the forum.

“The major complaints received from all over the country is on over billing, community transformer problems, disregard of metering and regulations from NERC with respect to disconnection, energy tapping, tariff band classification

“Other issues also had to do with account reconciliation, adjustment bottlenecks, disconnection without notice, and billing before connection of the billed property with electricity.

“These are issues that are very serious for consumers, and when they request reconciliation most time the DISCOs are not forthcoming.

“That is why complaints are brought to the NERC and FCCPC, which is the last resort apart from the court,” he said.

The FCCPC boss, however, advised Discos to be more forthcoming in addressing customers’ complaints quickly, adding, “this is not our core competence.”

“They have the primary responsibility of offering services to their consumers and resolving these complaints.

“The consumers should have confidence in their service providers and feel free to complain to them first because that is what the law says.

“We appeal to the complainants not to take the law into their own hands but ensure that they lodge their complaints in the right manner.

“We are here to resolve the issues. To sit down with complainers and the people who would normally resolve these complaints.

“Our resolution is to resolve all these problems in these few days we are here or give a timeline to dispose of the complaints. If they fail, you are free to report to our Lagos office.

“We give you the assurance that specifically we are here for you. Please free to use our services.

“We are always on ground 24/7 to sort your problems.  We will ensure that whoever that is not doing the right things is made to do what is right,” he added .

“We thank our colleagues in the process of resolving these issues, the NERC, NEMSA, and the DISCOs themselves for finding time to come here.

“We give you the reassurances that we will do whatever that is within our power to resolve your issues and whatever that is not resolved please report to us.

“We are here for customers, so feel free to let us know your problems, and we will resolve them,” emphasised.

In his remarks,  Mr Salami Afeez,  Area Inspecting Engineer, Ikeja Network, NEMSA, assured FCCPC of the agency’s continued collaboration with the commission in delivering on its mandate as a technical enforcement agency for energy sector.

Salami also said the agency had alway and would continue to go round Ikeja Disco’s network to monitor the defects in its network.

“As consumers, if you see any threatening point in this network, please do not hesitate to call us.

Also, Mr Chukwunonso Okwuosah, NERC representative, commended FCCPC for putting the customers’ complaints forum together.

“We are constantly appealing that customers should come with an open mind and understand that Ikeja Electric will act as guided by the regulation.

Mrs Jolaoluwa Adewale, a representative of Ikeja Electric,  also thanked customers for their patience and cooperation.

He applauded FCCPC for arranging the forum that brings stakeholders closer to our customers.

“We have noted your complaints and feedback and will continue to work hard to resolve them.

“What you have today is our commitment and resolve to ensure that we will continue to be fair to our customers and also align and cooperate with the laws of the land.

“One of things I will like to encourage our customers is with the issue of accountability and collaborating with us when it comes to energy theft. that is becoming more and more rampant in our society.

“This is by ensuring that those in your communities that steal energy are held accountable,” he said.

One of the customers, Mr Anthony Iteghete, said, “We are very happy and pleased to see this kind of forum.

“We wish it would go around the nation, so that we can have time to ask them some questions and tell them our needs.

“I am here because I paid for meter since August 2023 and I have not seen it.

“I sleep without light. I want you to address this because IKEDC said that they have no meter. But, they are having my money,” he said.

Mr Samuel Ogidan, a customers, also said: “We have been paying close to N1.5 million every month and all of a sudden they jack it up by about 100 per cent. They keep changing every three months in order to meet their own target.

“We have been asking them what their target has to do with our own billing? They blocked us from having a meter, a pre-paid meter, and from moving on with our business.

“They do not want us to have access to a prepaid meter. The FCCPC is handling it at the moment. Initially, we are at the court, but the court asks us to settle amicably,” he said.

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