The Electric Power Sector Reform Act (Amendment) Bill, 2019 was sent from the House of Representatives for concurrence in the Senate.
Sponsored by the leader of the Senate, Yahaya Abdullahi (Kebbi North) the bill was read for the first time in the red chamber on 10/12/2019.
The bill seeks to prohibit estimated billing and placing an obligation on Discos to install prepaid meters at consumers’ premises within thirty (30) days of receiving an application and the regulated fee for the prepaid meter.
In addition, the Bill makes it mandatory for all electricity charges or bills to be based on prepaid meters; and consumers are not required to pay any bill without the meters first being installed at their premises.
The bill placed an obligation on the Discos to inform the consumers in writing on the nature of the meter installed, tariff methodology and other services available to the customer upon connection.
It also criminalised and provided a penalty for the issuance of estimated bills and failure of the Discos to provide prepaid meters after receiving an application and payment from a customer.
“All cases of illegal disconnection, refusal of the relevant Distribution Company to connect a customer after application, un-metering within thirty (30) days of a customer applying for a pre-paid meter and estimated billing shall attract both civil and criminal liability and any officer found guilty shall be liable to a fine of N500,000 (Five Hundred Thousand Naira) or imprisonment for a term of 6 months or to both such fine and imprisonment as the Court may deem fit.”
In addition to the above, the Bill recommends six (6) months imprisonment or a fine of N1, 000, 000. 00 (One Million Naira) or both for any person who contravenes or “frustrates” the implementation of the Bill when enacted into law. Almost two years since the bill was read for the first time, nothing has been done about it.