‘To improve service delivery’ — NERC launches power outage reporting app
The Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has launched a ‘power outage reporting system aimed to address customer complaints and power disruption across the country.
Speaking during the launch in Abuja on Monday, Sanusi Garba, chairman of NERC, said that the App will assist the commission in monitoring and ensuring that distribution companies comply with set tariffs.
According to Garba, the App is in line with the commission’s mandate of introducing regulations that protect the rights of consumers, as it provides a timeline within which DisCos are expected to address customer complaints.
“I think a lot of you can recall that we recently launched a new consumer protection regulation that provides timelines within which public utilities, especially distribution companies (DisCos), are required to resolve customer complaints.
“So, this particular app that we have launched today is supposed to assist the commission in monitoring that DisCos are complying with the standards set out in that regulation,” he said.
He further noted that plans were ongoing to put smart meters on feeders for accurate data or near real-time data adding that the commission has discovered that the DisCos are complying with the obligation in real time.
“We decided to start this launch with Abuja. There’ll be a national rollout for all distribution companies. Such a massive application would require some test run and so on. So, AEDC is like a guinea pig for the app but we’ll quickly extradite the rollout to other distribution companies but obviously the DisCos where we are having the highest level of complaints will be ranked higher in terms of the rollout,” he said.
For Christopher Ezeafulukwe, managing director of the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company, customers feedback are important materials for the Discos as it aid improved service delivery.
“I dare say feedback from our customers is actually for the distribution company, what I would call our feedstock. It is the raw material that we need to be able to deliver the services that we actually contract to provide.
“One big takeaway is that the app we’re about to launch is a product of collaboration between the commission, the distribution company, and eventually the customers.
“It then implies that it will be a win-win for all of us. On the part of the regulator, it’s already been said that it will be greater oversight and not just oversight for oversight’s sake but to ensure that value is being created sustained and protected.
“On the part of the distribution company, this will actually help catalyse more data-based decisions on our part,” he said.
In her remarks, Aisha Mahmud, commissioner of consumer affairs NERC, explained that the App was launced in partnership with the DisCos.
She said, “the App utilises a multi-channel approach. We liaised with the different distribution companies and obtained data on their customers. So, if you’re a customer of a DisCo and the DisCo is supplying you, your information is already stored in that app.
“If you complain about any outage, there are multiple channels. There is a web and mobile app, so you can download it on your phone through Apple or Google store. You just need your meter number.
“You download the app, you put your meter number and then after that, you log in your complaint and the app will automatically send a confirmation to the customers on that particular feeder of yours to find out if there is an outage.
“If there is, we need about two to three customers to confirm an outage on that feeder.
“As soon as they confirm that, the app will send that confirmation to the DisCo with a resolution timeline and as soon as the DisCo resolves this complaint, then the DisCo will update the app saying ‘we’ve resolved this complaint’ and the app will automatically send another confirmation request to those customers on that particular feeder.”