The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) said it would, in a matter of weeks, commence the operation of a power outage reporting application to enable consumers to report power supply situations in their localities, a measure it said will help address power outage challenges across the country.
Musiliu Oseni, vice chairman, NERC, who made the disclosure during the launch of the Ogun Complaints Forum Office at Ibara Housing Estate, Abeokuta, expressed confidence that the app would help NERC to ease and fast-track the process of reporting power outages and improving electricity supply in Nigeria.
The development, he explained, is part of the commission’s efforts at leveraging technology to address complaints of power outages.
Speaking further on how the application is being set up, Oseni said the app which can be downloaded through Google Play or Apple Store, possesses a connectivity integrated into the systems of the various electricity distribution companies (DisCos), which would trigger alerts immediately if power outage complaints were made by customers.
“The pilot scheme will start and be rolled out for Abuja customers in the next few weeks and it will thereafter be rolled out nationwide,” he added.
Oseni admitted that the electricity sector is still fraught with a lot of challenges, noting that some of them are beyond the control of the utility providers while some are systemic problems that require strong efforts and commitment on the part of the policy makers, regulators and well meaning Nigerians.
He explained that the new Ogun forum office was the 31st office established across the country to provide solutions to the electricity challenges across the country, adding that NERC planned to establish a minimum of one of such offices in each state of the country to enable electricity consumers to lodge their complaints to the commission.
“The commission wants to ensure that it performs its oversight function rooted in international best practices and without discrimination.
“It is part of efforts to realise this aspiration that this forum office is being unveiled,” he said.
John Ayodele, chief operating officer of the Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC), noted that the outage reporting application was a demonstration of NERC’s commitment to putting the customers first.
Ayodele, represented by Deolu Ijose, chief commercial officer, IBEDC, said the forum was in line with the firm’s goal of taking service delivery to higher heights through customer centric initiatives.
He encouraged IBEDC customers in Ogun to take advantage of various platforms created by the firm and the NERC to get their complaints resolved.
According to him, the push back from the Service Based Tariff (SBT), capping methodology, general economic situation and the unrealistic expectations from customers, who still consider power as a social service, are factors that constantly generate controversies, hence the need for the NERC forum office which will serve as an unbiased arbiter.
The IBEDC chief operating officer noted that over 134,000 of the 159,000 complaints received across the company’s franchise in 2021 were resolved.
He expressed optimism that the forum office will continue to resolve challenges within the electricity sector and also help to educate customers on their rights and obligations.