Sam-AmadiThe Federal Government has intensified efforts to check extortion associated with sourcing electricity meters in the nation.

The moves presently made through the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC would involve effective monitoring to ensure the Electricity Distribution Companies, DISCOs do not exploit consumers in all parts of the nation.

A top official of the Commission stated in a telephone interview that the decision was taken following numerous complaints which consumers have made to NERC.

He said: “We have received numerous petitions from many consumers. As a responsible organization, we must act to ensure the challenge is addressed.

The official said consumers of electricity have accused the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN of extortion in the procurement of new meters in the country.

He said: “The single and double phase meters officially cost N25, 000 and N50, 000 respectively. But many consumers said they were not able to get the meters at that level.”

As reported by National Mirror, investigations showed that many consumers got them at very exorbitant prices. For instance, a consumer who got the single phase meter in Ikeja said unofficially he paid additional N15, 000 before some people that claimed to be officials of Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company Plc agreed to come for installation.

He said: “It is not easy to get the new meters except you are willing to spend extra money. Some officials who claim to be staff will not work until you are willing to put money in their pockets.

But the Assistant General Manager, Public Affairs, Ikeja Disco, Mr. Pekun Adeyanju said in a telephone interview that no extra charges have been added for consumers desirous to procure the meters.

He said: “The meters are still sold at controlled prices. There are no additional charges. We have repeatedly urged consumers to deal directly with us. They should not patronize touts who may be out to extort funds from the members of the public.”

Investigations showed that similar extortion also take place in other parts of the nation. For instance, consumers in Abuja also complain not only about the scarcity of the new meters but also the high prices involved.

For instance, consumers who preferred not to be named said that he spent as much as N70, 000 to procure a double phase meter in Abuja last month after several efforts had failed to get through official source.

The Chairman and Chief Executive officer of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, Dr. Sam Amadi remarked that the Commission has already directed the Electricity Distribution Companies, DISCOs to ensure that the meters are made available to consumers at official rates without additional charges.

The commission said it has also issued an ultimatum to the DISCOs, urging them to ensure customers who paid for the new meters since January 2011 are metered without delay.

 

Information from National Mirror was used in this report.

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