The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) has stated that distribution companies’ customers have the right to vend energy, purchase unlimited electricity token if they want to.
The notice from the FCCPC came as a result of the vending constraints experienced by customers in the franchise area of Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company (IKEDC), Customers were unable to purchase electricity tokens or units for prepaid meters.
The FCCPC says it is actively working with the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and IKEDC to address these complaints and resolve any issues with vending or purchasing electricity tokens.
The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) has said that not allowing customers to vend as much as they want is illegal.
In its statement, the FCCPC said that it has also told Ikeja DisCo and other distribution companies that restricting or constricting supply or vending in a manner that prevents or impedes purchases or consumption at consumer discretion in anticipation of any changes in prevailing fiscal regimes constitutes an infringement of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Act, 2018 (FCCPA) and is impermissibly oppressive.
According to a recent statement signed by Babatunde Irukera, the CEO of the FCCPC, the Commission noted:
“Sections 17(g), (x) and 125 of the FCCPA prohibit unconscionable, obnoxious, unfair, unscrupulous business practices, as well as unfair tactics in the course of legitimate business.
“The Commission will enforce the law to the fullest extent of same, especially when the conduct is to deny citizens access to an essential utility except under operation of law.”
In the statement, which was shared on Twitter, the FCCPC said that it had received numerous complaints from electricity consumers within the IKEDC franchise area, regarding vending constraints
These complaints were specifically related to the customers’ inability to purchase electricity tokens or units for their prepaid meters, which persisted over an extended period of time.
The FCCPC has been actively engaged with the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and IKEDC to address these complaints and resolve any associated difficulties with vending or purchasing tokens.
A part of the statement read thus:
“The Commission understands that the difficulties arose in part because the past days have been public holidays, and vending agents were inundated with significant purchases in excess of usual vending and purchase.
“Is a result of consumers seeking to make larger than usual electricity token purchases to pre-empt any perceived change in tariffs purportedly on July 1, 2023, as has been rumoured, perceived or represented publicly.
“The situation is now under control and IKEDC presented to the Commission that any vending constraints are unassociated with any presumptive changes in tariff. IKEDC has committed to continuing to conduct its business, including vending tokens in accordance with prevailing law and tariff of the time of vending.”
The Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) may establish a new methodology for determining exchange rates during tariff adjustments, leading to higher electricity tariffs from July 2023. Meanwhile, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has demanded a halt to the proposed 40% tariff increase, expressing concerns about its impact on consumers.