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NERC opens Benin office to resolve electricity conflicts

By on September 12, 2014

The National Electricity Regulatory Commission has opened a forum office in Benin, the Edo State capital, to address unresolved issues between the Benin Electricity Distribution Company and its customers within the latter’s coverage area.

The Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, who inaugurated the office, said that the initiative would enhance NERC’s mandate of protecting the customers’ rights .

Nebo, who was represented by a Deputy Director in the Ministry, Omololu Ogunleye, hinged the success of the ongoing reforms in the sector on the level of interaction among the stakeholders.

He canvassed support for the distribution companies to ensure that consumers’ rights were protected. “These companies must ensure that Nigerians have adequate power supply,” he stressed.

Ogunleye said that the forum would serve as a platform and a major talk point for the resolution of electricity issues from various communities.

“The commission has the mandate to ensure that Nigerians have adequate and reliable supply of power. Let me use this opportunity to emphasise that the Federal Government’s efforts are quite glaring and it will not rest on its laurels until it has achieved the desire to provide electricity for all.

“It takes the commitment of all stakeholders and patience of the consumers to achieve this goal. There is no gainsaying that the success of the electricity sector is dependent on the effective coordination of the sector,” he said.

In his remarks, the Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, who was represented by the state Commissioner for Energy and Water resources, Chris Ebare, said that the NERC forum office had been expected.

He suggested that such offices should be opened in all the local government areas in the state to reduce the burden of people in the rural areas travelling to the state capital to lay complaints.

NERC Chairman, Dr. Sam Amadi, represented by Dr. Albert Ibrahim, said that the forum office was set up specifically to bridge the gap between power consumers and the electricity distribution company in the state. “The forum is a body charged by the commission to hear and resolve customer complaints on appeal in the operational area of every distribution licensee. Complaints that may come to the forum are complaints not settled at the customer care units situated in the distribution company,” he said.

Amadi said officials of complaints office were drawn from relevant stakeholders, which he said included the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Consumer Protection Council, Nigerian Society of Engineers, non-governmental organisations, civil society organisations and the Benin Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture.

He, however, urged electricity consumers to demonstrate understanding with the distribution company in the state, bearing in mind that the transformation in the power sector was a gradual process.

Also speaking, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the BEDC, Mrs. Funke Osibodu, who was represented by her Executive Director, Commercial, Abu Ejoor, described the effort as a timely intervention to boost the interaction between the company and its numerous consumers.

On his part, the Chairman, House of Representatives on Power, Mr. Patrick Ikhariale, said he believed that the revolution in the telecoms sector would be a child’s play when the power sector becomes fully operational under private sector management.

He said, “If we get the power sector right, we would have solved 60 to 70 per cent of Nigeria’s challenges. The business of electricity is not a tea party. It is capital-intensive. It requires commitment, interest and technical know-how to succeed.”