NERC Directs Electricity Companies to Disconnect Indebted Customers After 12 Days

NERC Directs Electricity Companies to Disconnect Indebted Customers After 12 Days

  • The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission has asked DisCos not to disconnect customers until after 12 days
  • The Commission said the distribution company should allow 10 days graces after serving bills to customers and disconnect two days after
  • Additionally, NERC has asked distribution companies not to disconnect premises where a life support machine is in use

Electricity distribution companies can only disconnect customers who have not paid their bills for at least 12 days, according to a recent statement from the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).

The statement was contained in NERC’s Customer Protection Regulation, 2023, and was shared on the Commission’s website on April 20, 2023.

NERC, DiScos, Customers
Electricity companies to disconnect customers after 12 days Credit: Merdith
Source: Getty Images

NERC stipulates days customers can be disconnected

The Commission stated that a DisCo might disconnect supply to a customer’s premises when they fail to pay the amount billed by the payment date stated on the bill or violates other terms and conditions agreed upon with the company.

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NERC stated that the payment date must be at least 10 days after bill delivery, and DisCos can then disconnect two working days after that.

The State reads:

“The payment date must be at least 10 days from the date of the delivery of the bill to the customer. Bills may be delivered physically to the customer’s premises or by some other electronic means, including text messages or electronic mail, as agreed with the customer.
“The period between the payment date and date of scheduled disconnection for nonpayment is not less than two working days after the payment date.
“Any bill correcting a previous inaccurate bill shall have a payment date which is at least 10 working days from the date of delivery of the corrected bill to the customer.”

According to the regulator, customers may be disconnected without notice if they are unauthorizedly connected to DisCo’s network.

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DisCos are empowered to disconnect customers who fail to provide valid identification

The distribution companies are empowered to deny a customer’s request for electricity if such customers fail to provide authentic means of identification or pay the security deposit request by the company.

“Where the customer’s connection is considered dangerous to the integrity of the network and affects the quality of supply to other customers.
“Where the DisCo is not granted access to read a meter that is located within the customer’s premises.
“Whenever a customer requests a distribution company to disconnect electricity supply to his premises, the distribution company shall disconnect the supply after confirming that the customer’s request will not impact other customers in the premises that require continued supply.
“The distribution company shall ensure that it can monitor consumption to the premises of the customer that has requested a disconnection that was not affected due to the impact on other customers in the premises, to assess the customer’s consumption,” NERC said.

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NERC warns DisCos not to disconnect premises with life support machine

Similarly, NERC has ordered the distribution firms not to disconnect the electricity supply to any premises where a life support machine is used.

Punch reports that the order is part of the Commission’s Customer Protection Regulation which says a distribution company shall not disconnect the electricity supply to any premises where it is aware that a life support machine is in use.

Nigeria missing in top 10 African countries with best electricity access reported that Nigeria's poor electricity supply had put it behind seemingly smaller countries with less Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Africa.

Electricity supply remains the fulcrum of national development in any country, and many African countries lack this basic and all-important amenity for their teeming population.

All across the continent, billions of people live in darkness or have epileptic power supply and cannot access electricity for household use.


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