By Yemi Adeleye
Lagos – All Electricity Consumers Protection Forum, an electricity advocacy group based in Lagos, on Monday, called on Electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) to stop habits of illegal electricity disconnections across the country.
Mr Adeola Samuel-Ilori, the National Coordinator of the forum, said the group have agreed to organise road shows across Lagos and Ogun axis on April 6 against the illegality being perpetrated by the Discos.
Samuel-Ilori said the rally was to sensitises the electricity consumers on their rights as it relates to connection and disconnection of power supply by the service providers.
“In October 2018, this organisation wrote letters to various police commands comprises of Lagos, Ogun, Oyo and Osun of the criminality inherent in the activities of the DISCOS concerning illegal disconnections.
“The letter, signed by Samuel-Ilori, and acknowledged by all police formations concerned, stated there is relevant section of the law that ought to guide the process of disconnection, if need be.
“The group has decided to embark on serious enlightenment and sensitisation programme for the general public which includes road show as from April 6,” the coordinator said.
According to him, what the Discos is doing nationwide is a clear contradiction of the law, disconnection of electricity supply to consumers without regards to the Electric Power Reform Act, 2005, is illegal.
“In line with the stipulated law, it’s the duty of the customer to pay for reasonable estimated bill as well as challenge and resist any act of cheating carried out by any DISCOS through instrumentality of the law,’’ Samuel-Ilori said.
“The law stated that a distribution company may only disconnect supply to a customer’s address when the customer has not paid the amount correctly billed for that supply address by the relevant payment date.
“Provided the payment date is clearly shown on the bill, payment date is at least 10 working days from the date of delivery of the bill to the supply address or a delivery provided by the customer, which is acceptable to the distribution company.
“Provided the payment date has not been superseded by a subsequent payment date issued to the same customer for the same supply address and the period between the payment date and the date of disconnection is not less than three months,” he said.
Samuel-Ilori said that with the above quoted provisions of the law, it was obvious that the practice by the DISCOS to constantly disconnect customers after two days of delivery of bills or thereabout, was illegal.
He said such act was inimical to the law, adding that such culprit should get criminalised by the provision of Section 94(1) of the same Electric Power Sector Reform Act, 2005.
The coordinator said the Section states: “Any person who contravenes any provision of this Act or any regulations hereunder, commits an offence.
“Such is liable on conviction, as a first offender, to a fine, not exceeding N100, 000 or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding one year or to both such fine and imprisonment.”
Samuel-Ilori said that for subsequent convictions, the culprit is liable to a fine, not exceeding N500, 000 or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding three years or to both such fine and imprisonment.
He said that the forum was registered for the main purpose of protecting the rights of electricity consumers.