DO YOU KNOW? It Is Illegal For Ikeja Electric, AEDC to Disconnect Customers’ Power Without Prior Notice

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A serving distribution company (DisCo) is obliged by the law to notify its customers in writing prior to the disconnection of electricity service in Nigeria. Surprised, right?

 

This is according to the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) regulation on Connection and Disconnection Procedures for Electricity Service (CDPES).

 

The NERC, empowered by the Electric Power Sector Reform (EPSR) Act, 2005,  has an obligation to ensure that the electricity supply industry is efficiently run to satisfy electricity needs of Nigerians.

 

According to the EPSR Act, NERC is vested with the power to ‘establish appropriate consumers rights and obligations regarding the provision and use of electricity services amongst others.

 

WHEN A DISCO CAN DISCONNECT CUSTOMERS’ ELECTRICITY SUPPLY

 

According to the CDPES regulation, a DisCo can disconnect supply when the customer refuses to pay the amount correctly billed, at the payment date.

DO YOU KNOW? It Is Illegal For Ikeja Electric, AEDC to Disconnect Customers’ Power Without Prior Notice

This is dependent on the following factors:

 

The payment date must be clearly indicated on the bill for a DisCo to be eligible to disconnect its customer’s power supply.

 

The bill must have been delivered 10 working days before the payment deadline.

 

A DisCo must ensure that the payment date has not been superseded by a subsequent payment date issued to the same customer.

That’s not all.

 

The distribution company must have checked its records to be sure that the bill had not been paid.

 

Also, the regulation stated that electricity supply could be disconnected if the customer refuses to provide acceptable identification or security deposit, after the DisCo’s prior written notice.

 

HOW SHOULD A WARNING BE ISSUED BY A DISCO?

 

It is unlawful for a DisCo to barge into a customer’s premises to disconnect electricity without first writing to the supply address, even though the customer had outstanding bills before the disconnection date.

 

The regulation said that before disconnection, the DisCo must have issued a written warning, stating specifically that the customer’s electricity supply will be disconnected, if the payment is not remitted at the appropriate date.

 

The written warning must contain the date it was delivered to the customer’s address and a telephone number or address where the customer could call for assistance to pay the outstanding bill.

 

WHEN CAN A DISCO DISCONNECT CUSTOMERS’ ELECTRICITY SUPPLY WITHOUT NOTICE?

 

The provision stated that a customer’s electricity supply can be disconnected without notice only on three grounds.

 

When a customer is illegally connected to the DisCo’s network, the company could disconnect the power supply without notice.

 

Also, when the customers’ installation is deemed to be dangerous to the DisCo’s network, the quality of supply to other customers, it would be justifiable to cut off the electricity supply of such customers.

 

WHAT A DISCO SHOULD DO WHEN A CUSTOMER’S METER CANNOT BE ACCESSED

 

According to NERC’s provision, due to omission by the customer, a meter in the premises of a customer cannot be read for three consecutive times, the serving DisCo could disconnect power supply.

 

 

The regulation stated further that this could be done only after the customer has been informed of the meter inaccessibility by written notice or telephone contact. This notification must include a request for the client to provide an access arrangement.

 

Furthermore, the provision said that the DisCo should proceed to issue a warning notice to the customer, stating that unless access is granted, in not less than 10 working days, electricity will be disconnected.

 

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A CUSTOMER’S ELECTRICITY SUPPLY IS DISCONNECTED

 

The Act noted that the DisCo has an obligation to notify its customer in writing — stating the date, time and reason for the disconnection. Also, the DisCo should inform its client about steps to take for reconnection.

 

FINE FOR WRONGFUL DISCONNECTION

 

The Act stated that if a DisCo wrongfully disconnects its customer’s power supply, it would have to pay a penalty fee every day or part of a day for the period of wrongful disconnection.

 

The DisCo would be mandated to pay a daily fee of N1,000 for residential buildings, N1,500 for commercial buildings and N2000 for industrial and special customer classifications.

 

The cable

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