DISCOs can only disconnect consumers after 10 working days, says group
The National Coordinator, All Electricity Consumers Protection Forum, Adeola Samuel-Ilori has condemned illegal disconnection by DISCOs in the country insisting that it is illegal to disconnect consumers before 10 working days after bill distribution.
Addressing journalists during a roadshow tagged: ‘Illegal disconnection is a criminal offence,’ in Lagos recently, Samuel-Ilori said there were enabling laws guiding DISCOs’ operations and Illegal disconnection is breach the provision and is therefore a criminal offence.
According to him, it has become fashionable for DISCOs to embark on disconnection exercise now after only two days of distribution of bills contrary to the provision of the law.
He said: “Officials sometimes come with policemen or soldiers to disconnect. We have written to commissioners of police of the entire South West that any officer that the DISCOS use to terrorise consumers would be held responsible for any illegal job done.”
Quoting Connection and Disconnection Procedures, 2007 Section 5(1) (a) of the Electric Power Sector Reforms Act 2005, he said that it is illegal for DISCOs to disconnect consumers before 10 working days after bills distribution that is minus Saturdays and Sundays.
He said: “After 10 days have elapsed and the consumer has not paid, the law says such consumer is entitled to disconnection notice. But all what the DISCOs have been is giving disconnection order.
“There is a difference between Disconnection Notice and Disconnection Order. Disconnection notice is to inform the consumers that you are owing the DISCOS a particular amount. If after three months and you have not paid, then they can give Disconnection Order.”
Quoting further from Section 5(1)(D) of the same Act, he added that it is illegal to disconnect consumers after disconnection notice has been served and before three months expiration of the disconnection notice.
According to him, going by Section 94(1) of the Act, it is a criminal offence if any DISCO fails to observe the above before disconnection of consumers and any of its staff who engages in it should be reported at the nearest police station and can be jailed for one year or fine N100, 000 or both.
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