Power institute calls for synergy to promote consumers’ right
Director General , National Power Training Institute of Nigeria (NAPTIN), Mr. Ahmed Nagode, has urged greater synergy among stakeholders in the electricity sector to promote the rights and obligations of consumers.
Nagode made the call at a one-day National Electricity Consumer Protection Education Awareness Forum in Abuja on Thursday.
The event was organized by NAPTIN, in collaboration with the Association for Public Policy Analysis (APPA).
He said that the awareness program was imperative as consumer rights and protection were important.
According to him, consumers are major stakeholders in Nigeria‘s energy sector.
“Consumers need to be aware of their civic rights and at the same time, they need to be aware of their civic responsibilities,” he said.
The head of NAPTIN said that the actors must give more attention in terms of training, with adequate coordination for the right and protection of consumers.
“We are all consumers; if we are protecting the rights and obligations of consumers, we are protecting ourselves and also protecting and promoting our interests.
“In any country, the right of the consumer is important, it is not necessary to overload the consumer, it is necessary to grant him his rights. They have civic rights and these are recorded in the laws of the country.
“ Consumers must pay their bills when they are due, but to those who are given much, much is expected. You have to give them what will allow them to exercise their rights, and that is what will make the system work. ” he said.
However, Nagode said that NAPTIN was ready to collaborate with other stakeholders in the electricity sector to carry out more training on consumer rights.
Mr. Princewill Okorie, national president of APPA, said that he organized the program as the energy sector was essential for the development of the economy.
“We found that the implementation of sections 80 and 81 of the Electric Power Sector Reform Act dealing with electricity consumer protection and licensee performance standards are not properly enforced.
“We observed unfair trade practices against consumers and going further, we found that consumers lack knowledge and information and are even afraid to protect themselves.
“Thus, the training will provide the consumer with knowledge about the rules and procedures that govern it, thus enhancing the relationship between it and the Electric Power Distribution Companies.”
Furthermore, Mr. Shittu Shaibu, Deputy Director for Consumer Affairs at the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, said that he had been working with all stakeholders to address the issue of consumer rights.
Shaibu said more needed to be done to inform consumers of their rights and obligations.
“I can assure you that there are sufficient regulations, compliance and collaboration with the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), as well as with the National Guidance Agency and others that are responsible for ensuring that consumers are protected,” he said.
Also speaking, Ms. Mercy Ogwu, FCCPC Deputy Director of Consumer Education, said consumer law provides a way for people to fight abusive business practices.
Ogwu said that awareness was key to the right of consumers, and if consumers knew something existed for their benefit, they would demand it and make sure they were not charged a surcharge.
“This action will make the market fairer for commercial transactions,” said the deputy director.
He reiterated the FCCPC’s commitment to always support such programs to increase consumer awareness, protect consumer rights, and ensure a fair playing field in the marketplace.