‘Crazy bill’ to attract one-year jail, N1m fine

Posted by Leke Baiyewu | 27 January 2019 | 1,665 times

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•Prepaid meter

The Electricity Power Reform Act (Amendment) Bill 2018 passed by the House of Representatives last Tuesday prohibiting and criminalising estimated billing has proposed a one-year jail term and a fine of N1m for defaulters.

The proposed law, which will be transmitted to the Senate for concurrence, and onward transmission to the President for his assent, also compels all electricity distribution companies to give prepaid meters to applicants within 30 days.

If assented to, the law will bar a Disco from disconnecting a consumer after the 30-day period within which a meter should be installed.

The Majority Leader of the House, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, sponsored the bill in protest against the ‘crazy’ billing of consumers by the Discos.

The lawmaker had stated that estimated billing could only be used in situations where a consumer’s meter could not be accessed by the service provider. He said Discos had however deemed estimated billing to be normal.

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

The majority leader had also said the bill, when passed into law, would stop estimated billing.

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

The House passed the bill upon the adoption of the committee report on the proposed law, following a public hearing held on June 5, 2018.

Gbajabiamila had, at the public hearing stated that there was nowhere in the world where electricity customers were billed arbitrarily.

Excerpted from a Punch report


Source: News Express

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