Bill to criminalise estimated billing passes 3rd reading

By EricJames Ochigbo

A bill for an Act to amend the Electric Power Reform Act to prohibit and criminalise estimated billing by the Electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) has passed third reading in the House of Representatives.

The house unanimously voted in favour of the bill when it was put to voice vote by the Deputy Speaker, Rep. Yussuf Lassun (APC-Osun) at the plenary on Tuesday.

The bill, which was sponsored by the Leader of the house, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila (APC-Lagos), had scaled public hearing on June 5, 2018.

During  the public hearing, Gbajabiamila said there was nowhere in the world where electricity customers were billed arbitrarily as the case in Nigeria.

The leader said the estimated billing could only be used in situations where the meter of the consumers could not be accessed by the energy company.

He argued that the DisCos had accepted estimated billing as the normal practice by making accurate and exact billing the exception.

Gbajabiamila said just as Nigerians were most united when the Super Eagles were playing the game of soccer, they were equally united against estimated billings.

“Any regulation that allows estimation of bills when the actual consumption can be ascertained is against natural justice and equity and should not stand,’’ Gbajabiamila said.

He said the bill, when passed, will end  the estimated billing by the DisCos, stressing that it would bring about a win-win situation for both the consumers and the companies.

“The bill will ensure that prepaid meters are installed in all houses, so long as the customers applied for the meters,’’ he said.

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