• Monday, February 26, 2024
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NERC moves to boost service delivery

NERC approves electricity distribution company for Akwa Ibom

…launches power outage reporting system

The Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has launched a power outage reporting system to address customers’ complaints and power disruptions in the country.

Sanusi Garba, chairman of NERC, at the launch in Abuja on Monday, said the app would assist the commission in monitoring and ensuring that distribution companies complied with set tariffs.

According to Garba, the app was in line with NERC’s mandate to introduce regulations that protect the rights of consumers, adding that it provided a timeline within which DisCos were expected to address complaints by the customers.

“I think a lot of you can recall that we recently launched a new consumer protection regulation that provides timelines within which public utilities, and especially distribution companies (DisCos), are required to resolve complaints by customers.

Read also: How to save on electricity bills when you are working remotely

“So, this particular app that we have launched is supposed to assist the commission in monitoring that DisCos are complying with the standards set out in that regulation,” he said.

He further noted that plans were ongoing to put smart meters on feeders for accurate data or near real-time data.

“We decided to start this launch with Abuja. There’ll be a national rollout for all distribution companies. Such a massive application would require some test run and so on. So, AEDC is like a guinea pig for the app but we’ll quickly extradite the rollout to other distribution companies but obviously the DisCos where we are having the highest level of complaints would be ranked higher in terms of the rollout,” he said.

Christopher Ezeafulukwe, the managing director of the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company, said customers’ feedback was critical for the Discos as it helps the company to improve its service delivery.

“I dare say feedback from our customers is actually for the distribution company, what I would call our feedstock. It is the raw material that we need to be able to deliver the services that we contract to provide.

Read also: Electricity consumers up 1.84% to 11.47m in Q2 2023 – NBS

“One big takeaway is that the app we’ve launched is a product of collaboration between the commission, the distribution company, and eventually the customers.

“It then implies that it’s going to be a win-win for all of us. On the part of the regulator, it’s already been said that there will be greater oversight and not just oversight for oversight sake, but to ensure that value is not just being created but sustained and protected.

“For us this will actually help catalyse more data-based decisions on our part,” he said.

Also speaking, Aisha Mahmud, the commissioner of consumer affairs, NERC, explained that the app was launched in partnership with DisCos.

Read also: Electricity Disruption: 3 Northern states brace for 6 day power outage-Disco

She said: “The app utilises a multi-channel approach. We liaised with the different distribution companies and obtained a lot of data on their customers. So, if you’re a customer of a DisCo and you are being supplied by the DisCo, your information is already stored in that app.

“If you have a complaint on any outage, there are multiple channels. There is a web app and a mobile app, so you can download it on your phone through Apple or Google store. You just need your meter number.

“You download the app, you put your meter number and after that, you log in your complaint and the app will automatically send a confirmation to the customers on that particular feeder of yours to find out if there is really an outage.

“If there is, then we need about two to three customers to confirm that there is an outage on that feeder.

“As soon as they confirm that, the app will send that confirmation to the DisCo with a resolution timeline and as soon as the DisCo resolves this complaint, then the DisCo will update the app saying ‘we’ve resolved this complaint’ and the app will automatically send another confirmation request to those customers on that particular feeder.”