The Director-General, Consumer Protection Council, Mr Babatunde Irukera, has revealed that inadequate power supply is top on the list of complaints by Nigerian consumers.
Irukera stated this on Wednesday in Lagos at a customer engagement town hall meeting organised by Eko Electricity Distribution Plc in conjunction with the CPC.
He said, “Power continues to be the greatest challenge our country is experiencing. In the CPC, complaint about power distribution constitutes the number one complaint we get. When I was going in to start working there, I suspected telecoms or banking will be the number one area where there would be most complaints.
“But I was surprised that those two are number two and three, behind power. But power is as much a problem for consumers as it is for government, business, investors and everyone else. Power is a national challenge.”
Irukera also expressed concern over arbitrary billing and group disconnection of electricity, among others.
He said, “Thirdly, it is the responsibility of the power companies to provide tools and equipment such as transformers and the other ancillary tools for delivering electricity to the people. Neighbourhoods should not be responsible for acquiring and installing those tools because they pay for them.
“What we have repeatedly said and shared with the leadership of Eko Disco today is that there are three key things that we think can certainly improve the interaction with consumers in the industry: transparency, sensitivity and responsiveness.
In response, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, EKEDC, Mr Adeola Fadeyibi, said the firm’s goal is to provide “24/7 power in a safe environment.”
He said, “I agree that people should only pay for what they consume. As a business that is responsible for the revenue of the whole market, my obligation is that the system must rightly pay for all the power that comes from the grid to the people; who then accounts for the losses?
“I think today was probably the beginning of one of those fantastic meetings. The DG of CPC was extremely happy that I was at the meeting; it shows the seriousness of Eko Disco. We all agreed that there is a problem, and we need to face the problem together. We acknowledged the existence of the issues of theft, bypasses, overloaded transformers, group disconnection, and arbitrary billing. How do we now reduce or even eliminate them?
“The DG CPC challenged us to reduce the issue of estimated billing. The Meter Asset Provider Regulation is something that will create a lot of relief in the system; we can do more metering faster under a separate kind of agreement as being managed by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission. But an ideal situation will be to meter everywhere from the transformer to the feeder down to every enumerated customer.”