Group Petitions Nerc Over Intimidation, Misconduct, Non Implementtion Of Anti Nerc Disputes Settlement Rules By Umuahia Forum.

By Richard Agwu

A group known as, Centre for Human Rights Advocacy and Wholesome Society, has petitioned the headquarters of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, over intimidation , misconduct and non-implementation of Anti NERC Dispute Regulation Rules in Umuahia Forum of the commission .

In a Report by the Human Right group signed by Okoye Chuka Peter and made available to Pressmen, the group brought to fore the plight of electricity consumers under the 33KVA Aba and Owerri under the Ariaria Business Unit in Aba, Abia State.

According to the report, the victims are resident in Aba, Abia State, with records at Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC), which is now Aba Power Limited Electric (APLE), with the following transformers: Watchtower 1&2, Ben Anwusionwu, Okorereke, Umuehilegbu 1&2, Nwosu,Excala,Ala Ukwu 1&2 and Adika 1&2.The victims are all members of the organized Electricity Consumer Forum.

The report states that the victims “have experienced rights violation, fraudulent over invoicing and exploitation in the hands of DISCO, through crazy estimated billings over the years, before the emergence of NERC capping orders of 197/2020 and 213/2020, which is grossly breached at present by the DISCO” This intimidation, according to the report led to the formation of Electricity Consumer Forum in that area, for a combined civil approach to curb the DISCO excesses.

The report further says that, earlier in the year, the victims laid a complaint to the DISCO, through their representatives, which led to a resolution to review their bills downwards, from April 2020, in accordance with NERC capping order with reference to Cap 197/2020 or alternatively the closest 33KVA feeder, which is Guinness 33KVA, in the same Ariaria Business Unit, since their feeder ( Aba-Owerri KVA) was not captured in the Cap 213/2020.

The report further says that, the resolution was not implemented, despite the huge financial commitment by the victims in complementing the purchase of a transformer and other electrical facilities, yet, the victims refused to toe the line of incivility and rightly complained to NERC, Umuahia Forum, in accordance with laid down procedure. Unfortunately, the victims were disappointed by the handling of the complaint headed by Engr. A.U.Onwuka, a clear deviation from EPSRA 2005 and other laid down regulations. But, one of the officials revealed that they have been on subvention from the DISCO, which helps in cushioning the effects of their irregular salaries payments.

This made the group to confirm its observations of non-conformity to ethical standards and biased judgment which contravenes the operational guidelines and legal framework of NERC.

The group therefore, calls for immediate intervention in line with NERC operational guidelines and bring the officials to book for accepting financial inducement which affected their judgment against NERC rules of engagement. This unethical observation has portrayed negativism on the side of the consumers who have started to lose faith in the efficacy of the Forum, since the rights of Consumers are no longer protected.

The group feels highly disappointed on the unprofessional conduct exhibited by officers of Umuahia Forum by accepting inducement to bend their judgment without minding the consequences of their action and its possible effects in erasing the remaining faith the consumers have in the system. It therefore calls on the National Regulatory body to intervene and reverse the judgment entered by Umuahia Forum, in order to restore confidence on the part of the consumers and replace the officers who have shown enough evidence of being neck-deep in irregular practices.