Repairs of faulty transformers are the responsibility of distribution companies (DisCos) and not communities.
This is according to Mr. Tony Essien, the AGM, of Consumer Affairs at the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).
He said this at the Electricity Consumers Enlightenment and Protection Workshop for staff of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) and the National Orientation Agency (NOA), which came to an end on Wednesday, July 19. Mr. Essien said if transformer repairs are done by any community, they should be repaid by their DisCo.
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- “On Communities repairing transformers, that forms an investment. If the transformer goes faulty, the DisCos are to repair it.
- “However, if a DisCo agrees for the community to fix it, it should be clearly spelt out that it is covered as an investment, what it costs, and the repayment.
- “If an agreement of investment is in place and the DisCo does not honour it, you can seek redress from NERC.”
Meanwhile, Chigozie Valerie Azikiwe, the Principal Manager of Market Competition and Rates at NERC, advised electricity consumers to discuss their need for new transformers and poles with their respective DisCos before a purchase is made. She said:
- “In terms of repayment, there is a process. One mistake a lot of people make is to purchase transformers or poles without discussing them with their DisCo.
- “The right process is to talk to the DisCo before purchasing the transformer. The repayment is not cash. What is obtainable now is energy credit, but you must follow the process of engaging the network owner from day one.
- “We consider consumer protection in everything we do here at NERC.”
Strengthening consumer knowledge
Omagu Nwachukwu, the Deputy Director of Surveillance and Investigation at FCCPC, suggested that NERC should provide clarity to electricity consumers on what their rights are. She highlighted the repairs of transformers. She said:
- “Tell consumers that if they want to repair a transformer, they should write formally to their DisCo and copy NERC so the DisCo in question, will know that NERC is aware.”
- Meanwhile, Ms. Azikiwe urged consumers to spread knowledge on the right processes to follow. She said:
- “Be our champions; tell consumers to follow the right process.
- “A lot of people don’t know these regulations exist. That is why we have these enlightenment workshops. If you know, let your neighbours know.”
What you should know
In April 2023, NERC launched an electricity service charter and among other rules, it maintained that after an electricity complaint is filed, the DisCo involved must visit the location within 24 hours to take steps to fix the problem.
If the fault was caused by a bad fuse, it must be replaced and reconnected within 24 hours, the same applies for other minor equipment faults. However, repairs must be carried out within 48 hours for other unnamed issues.
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