Power institute seeks synergy to promote consumers’ right

The National Power Training Institute (NAPTIN), has urged more synergy among stakeholders in the power sector to promote the rights and obligations of consumers.

The Director-General, NAPTIN, Ahmed Nagode, made the call yesterday, at a one-day National Electricity Consumer Protection Education Awareness Forum, in Abuja.

The event was organised by NAPTIN, in collaboration with the Association for Public Policy Analysis (APPA).

Nagode said the awareness programme was imperative, as consumers’ right and protection was important since they are big stakeholders in the power sector.

“Consumers need to be aware of their civic rights and at the same time need to be aware of their civic responsibilities,” and urged more attention in terms of training, with proper coordination to right and protection.

He said: “We are all consumers; if we are protecting consumers’ rights and obligations we are protecting ourselves and also protecting and promoting our interest.

“In any country, the consumer’s right is important, you need not surcharge the consumer; you need to give them their rights. They have civic rights and these are engraved in the laws of the land.

“Consumers need to pay their bills as at when due but to whom much is given, much is expected. You must give them what will make it possible for them to exercise their rights, and this is what will make the system work.”

Economic development

We are all consumers; if we are protecting consumers’ rights and obligations, we are protecting ourselves and also protecting and promoting our interest.

Commenting, the National President, Association for Public Policy Analysis (APPA), Princewill Okorie, explained that the group organised the programme because power is critical to economic development.

He said: “We found out that implementation of section 80 and 81 of the Electricity Power Sector Reform Act that deal with electricity consumer protection and licensee performance standards are not well enforced.

“We observe unfair business practices against consumers and going further, we found out that consumers lack knowledge and information and are even scared to protect themselves.

“So, the training will equip the consumer with knowledge on the standards and procedures governing them, thereby enhancing the relationship between them and Electricity Distribution Companies.”

Also, the Deputy Director, Consumers Affairs, Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Shittu Shaibu, said it had been working with all stakeholders to address the issue of consumer rights.

He said: “I can assure you that there are enough regulations, compliance and collaboration with Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) as well as the National Orientation Agency (NOA), and others that are responsible for ensuring consumers are protected.”

Also speaking, FCCPC Deputy Director, Consumer Education, Mrs Mercy Ogwu, said consumers’ rights provide ways for individuals to fight against abusive business practices.

Ogwu argued that awareness is key to consumers’ rights, and if consumers knew something existed for their benefit, they would demand for it and ensure they are not surcharged.

“This action will make the marketplace fairer for business transactions,” she said, and reiterated FCCPC’s commitment to always support such programmes to increase consumer awareness, protection of rights, and ensure a level playing ground in the marketplace. (NAN)

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