By David Lawani
As part of efforts to continue to deepen and strengthen customers’ value for service, the Public Complaints Commission, PCC in the discharge of its constitutional mandate has carried out a Sytemic and Proactive Investigation into the Non-Issuance of Prepaid meters and Estimated billings of electricity consumers.
The Investigation was conducted across the states of the North-West Geo-Political zone.
The Commission appealed to the Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company, KEDC, to continue to enlighten and educate the public most especially on estimated billing and prepaid meters.
The Director, Investigation (Private sector), of PCC, Ms. James Hannatu who made this call when she led her team of investigators to the Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company due to the series of complaints received from the customers addressed to her department which range from estimated billing, Non-Issuance of prepaid meters and arbitrary charges for prepaid meters by the KEDC.
She made these observations in a briefing shortly after an interactive session with the KEDC saying she has learned so much from the feedback which she has gotten from the interaction from the group. She said this level of interface should happen often so that areas of disagreement can be expressed and properly addressed in the interest of the customers and the state. The electricity consumers who participated in the town hall interactive session were also very satisfied with the outcome.
She noted: The outcome of the meeting has really addressed the issues we have come to investigate. For example, we want to know the challenges with the non-issuance of the prepaid meters. Initially, before we came, we didn’t know some of the things they discussed. Before, 2020, they told us that customers used to buy the meters. They could not buy because they do not have the purchasing power.
” That was the challenge. But from 2020, the meters are said to be for free. So, on the issue of estimated billing, they have explained to us how they go about it and it has been very cordial with everyone. They cited an example that will also help us to address issues when they are brought before us by complainants. So, I appreciate their explanations. To an extent, they have satisfied what we have come to do here”, she said.
On the part of the KEDC, the Chairman, Yusuf Hamisu Abubakr said he is glad that the PCC considers it fit to have visited them to also hear their own side of the issues with the customers. He commended the Commission for fighting for the ordinary Nigerians who may have been victim of administrative injustice.
Engr. Aliyu Abbas Abdulahi, Head, Customer Care Relations, who represented the chairman submitted that he has also learned from the engagement with the PCC as it will afford the KEDC to follow up with the challenges faced by the customers as soon as they are reported.
He stressed that they are not supposed to go to the PCC and lodge complaints at first. He maintained that they ought to have come and meet them for whatever fears they may have heard with estimated billings and prepaid meters. They are supposed to take their complaints to the PCC after exhausting the process of internal resolution with no positive outcome,
” The essence of the meeting is with regards to two areas, estimated billing and prepaid meters. On both, sides we have learned a lot. The customers are going directly to the PCC which they are not supposed to. Basically, they are supposed to meet us with their complaints or they can go to KEDC portal for such complaints.
”Now, we are all enlightened on the processes of what to follow in terms of metering, and in terms of estimated billing. Estimated billing is a very big issue that has been there for a long time. which is affecting the performance of all the Discos not only Kaduna Electric.
” And, I think because of that, the Federal Government of Nigeria, has stepped up and come up with a mass metering scheme to meter all the customers.
”We just concluded phase zero. And, we are now in phase 1. To meter all the customers in Nigeria. They earmarked about 4 million meters which we are going to use to meter all the customers. The problem of estimated billing is a very huge one. Because of the issue of enlightenment on the part of the customers, they don’t know, because they don’t understand how metering is being done. They don’t know their loads, processes of servicing their areas. But, with this meeting, and we pray we have it often in the future even though this is just the beginning, we have learned from each other and it is very fruitful”, he said.
The participants commended the Public Complaints Commission for the prompt intervention on their plights. Ahmad Maikanti who spoke to our reporter thanked the Commission for their services. He stated that he is very pleased with the outcome of the interactive meeting.
He urged the Commission to extend the investigation to other areas as there are so many different forms of social and administrative injustice that Nigerians are suffering from. He added further that his hopes for a better Nigeria has been revitalized with this investigation and interactive session.