THE Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), has said no electricity distribution company (Disco) has the right to disconnect a customer without first serving a notice for at least 10 working days from the date of delivery of their bill.
The commission further said the Disco must notify the consumer in writing ahead of the disconnection of electricity service before doing so, adding that upon payment of an outstanding bill, it has a duty to reconnect the consumer within 24 hours.
Speaking during a four-day electricity consumer complaint resolution platform in Calabar, Cross River State, Executive Vice Chairman, Babatunde Irukera, bemoaned the abysmal service provided by Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company, PHED, in Calabar and its environs.
He disclosed that based on his interaction with the people, PHED needs to improve its service, adding that their success was not measured based on what they generate but customer satisfaction.
He berated PHED over its poor service delivery, describing the service to residents of Cross River State as oppressive following the reports they received on many issues, including mass disconnection carried out by the company without recourse to the law.
He explained that it was illegal for consumers to buy transformers, and later it becomes PHED property.
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His words: “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 the that PHED does not operate in the state.
“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 who are consistent, so it is injustice and unfair to also disconnect them.
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“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 them illegally from consumers.
“What PHED is doing is by forcing customers to pay bills is just to make all agencies fail.
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“The commercial contract we have is between the citizens and the power distribution companies, and that is acceptable. People pay for a service, and it is mandatory to provide what they have paid for.”