Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), will sanction Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (PHEDC) and other distribution companies whose officials collect illegal fees from consumers to purchase transformer for installations in various localities.
Acting Chairman of NERC, Dr Anthony Akah gave the warning on Monday in Uyo in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
He emphasised that it was not the responsibility of communities to contribute to the purchase of transformers, electricity poles or contribute money for the repairs of electrical infrastructure in their areas.
He said that the commission would partner the communities to discourage distribution companies from asking consumers pay illegal fees to repair electricity installations.
“I want to state very clearly that it is not the responsibility of electricity consumers to buy transformers, electrical poles or contribute money for the repairs of electrical infrastructure.
“It is important that we use our electronic appliances or phones get recording of such transactions to enable us investigate.
“In some instances, the person who engages in such illegal transaction may not be authorised by the Management of PHEDC.
“If you have any complain write to the regulator, we have powers to sanction them,’’ he said.
Aka assured that if any staff of PHEDC was found guilty, the commission would apply the appropriate disciplinary sanction against such person.
He disclosed that the commission fined PHEDC several millions of naira two weeks ago based on complaints made by customers.
Aka said that officials of the regulatory commission had been going round to inform consumers to reject estimated bills.
He assured that estimated billing would soon be a thing of the past.
He said that if consumers were supplied with prepaid meters there would be no need for estimated bills.
The acting chairman, who decried the rate at which vandals blow up pipelines across the country, said the menace was affecting the generating capacity of electricity generating companies.
“If vandals blow up pipelines and power generation drops, the distribution companies will have little or no power for their consumers,’’ he said.
He commended the Federal Government for the ongoing expansion work on transmission lines across the country, saying it would enhance evacuation of electricity to the national grid.