Reps pass bill criminalising estimated billing

Esther Ajibola – Abuja

A bill seeking to amend the Electric Power Reform Act, prohibit and criminalise estimated billing of consumers passed the third reading at the House of Representatives on Tuesday.

The Majority Leader, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, sponsored the bill in protest against the “crazy bills” Electricity Distribution Companies force their customers to pay.

The report submitted by the committee set up by the House to the matter was unanimously adopted by the lawmakers, after a public hearing on June 5, 2018.

The Deputy Speaker, Mr Yusuf Lasun, who presided over the session, put the report to a voice vote and it was approved overwhelmingly.

The House will transmit the bill to the Senate for agreement. If the upper chamber passes the bill, it will be transmitted to the President to give his assent to it.

Gbajabiamila had at the public hearing stated that it was only in Nigeria electricity customers were billed arbitrarily.

He added that estimated billing could only be used in situations where the consumers’ meters could not be accessed by the service provider.

Gbajabiamila said DisCos had however deemed estimated billing to be normal.

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 them,” he said.

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