CPC’s Probe Of DISCOS For Outrageous Billings | Independent Newspapers Limited
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CPC’s Probe Of DISCOS For Outrageous Billings

Posted: Sep 16, 2015 at 12:30 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Most Nigerians with discerning minds across the country could not have been impressed when they learnt recently that the Consumer Protection Council (CPC) has started probing the power Distribution Companies (DISCOS) for outrageous billings.

The question that is seriously agitating the minds of the generality of hapless, helpless and battered electricity consumers across the country is: Why has it taken the CPC such a long time to check the excesses of the DISCOS for outrageous billings amongst other wrong doings against the interests of electricity consumers?

We recall with profound dismay that the CPC, which is an agency of the Federal Government established by Act No 66 of 1992, is yet to justify the cardinal reasons for which it was established since it commenced operations in 1999.

It is unfortunate that since it came into existence, the agency has not effectively exercised the powers conferred upon it by Section 31 of the Consumer Protection Council Act and other enabling powers in encouraging trade, industry and professional associations to develop and enforce in their various fields, quality standards aimed at safeguarding consumer rights; ensuring that consumers’ interests are accorded prompt consideration at relevant fora; providing redress to exploitation of consumers by companies, individuals and trade associations; as well as prompt resolution of consumers’ complaints through negotiation, mediation and conciliation.

It is worrisome that after 16 years, electricity consumers perceive the CPC as ineffective, inefficient and toothless. It is saddening that the CPC, which is expected to be a highly respected government agency, has failed like other regulatory bodies in strategic sectors of the nation’s economy, to protect the interests of consumers.

It is a shame that almost two years after the DISCOS and the GENCOS commenced operations, the vexed issue of outrageous billings by the DISCOS remains one of the myriad of problems affecting the interests of electricity consumers, which the CPC under the leadership of its Director-General, Mrs. Dupe Atoki, is yet to accord the much-desired urgent attention.

It is unfortunate that as it existed when the defunct PHCN was in charge, the issue of outrageous billings still persists after privatization of the power sector.

The leadership of the CPC should be alive to their responsibilities to electricity consumers. The CPC should as a matter of urgency, key into the on-going change mantra of the Muhammadu Buhari administration by ensuring that the DISCOS desist from issuing electricity consumers unrealistic bills. It should promptly attend to customers’ complaints in order to curb the rate at which electricity consumers are short – changed by the DISCOS.

Apart from the rising rate at which the DISCOS are trampling upon consumers’ interests in the power sector, the CPC should also put an end to the rate at which unscrupulous service providers in the telecommunications sector flagrantly exploit their customers through illegal charges in spite of poor service delivery. It is immoral to ask consumers to pay for services not rendered.

The CPC owes electricity consumers the sacred duty of conducting a thorough probe that will expose the wrongdoings that are inimical to the interests of electricity consumers with a view to finding lasting solution to them. This is a way of further cleansing the cancerous rot in the power sector. Finally, we urge the CPC to ensure the report of the probe is made public and that those found guilty are penalized appropriately to serve as a deterrent to others.