The Nigeria Labour Congress has said that the estimated billing of consumers by electricity distribution companies is a deliberate ploy to exploit thecitizens.
The General Secretary, NLC, Dr. Peter Ozo-Eson, said that it was inconceivable for the electricity firms to bill consumers who travelled and shutdown everything in their homes as if they were around.
The NLC scribe said that the time had come for the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission to adopt measures in defence of the consumers of electricity being exploited by the Discos.
Ozo-Eson was reacting to reports that about three million households were not metered and were being given estimated bills out of over six million registered electricity users.
The NLC’s scribe called on the government to adopt a measure that would prevent the companies from billing consumers if they failed to provide meters during a specified period after payment for such.
He stressed that only such a measure would compel the companies to stop the habit of fleecing Nigerians and making them to pay for services not rendered.
He recalled that the NLC had earlier called the attention of the government to the disturbing trend during the nationwide rallies organised to protest the increase in electricity tariff last year.
Ozo-Eson noted that the situation had lingered in spite of the undertaking by the electricity firms that they would meter all consumers.
He said, “You will recollect that we have taken a position very clearly on this matter when we staged rallies against the increased tariff. We drew attention to the preponderance of customers in Nigeria still based on estimated billing. Estimated billing is just an avenue for the Discos to fleece Nigerians.
“So, this is just bringing out the fact and reinforcing that position. Because if you base everything on estimated billing, people travel and shut down everything for the period of Christmas and they come back and the bills are the same; that is part of the exploitation, which we have been drawing attention to.”
He added, “We drew attention to the problems of billing and metering, and part of the undertaking they gave was that they were going to meter. So, if they don’t meter, we call on NERC to exercise its authority on the side of consumer protection.
“The NERC should give a directive that anybody who has formally applied for a meter and within a stipulated time of three months and has not been delivered a meter should not be billed until meters are put in place. That is the way you are going to force them to put these things in place so that everybody will be charged according to consumption.”