The Federal Government unveiled an application called the Power Outage Reporting System, which enables consumers to report electricity disruptions to distribution companies under monitoring by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, on Monday.
It unveiled the applications at the Abuja headquarters of NERC, using the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company as a test-run DisCo.
The NERC Chairman, Sanusi Garba, said the application would enable the commission to effectively tackle power distributors that fail to address electricity disruptions reported by consumers.
“We recently launched a new regulation that provides timelines within which public utilities, especially DisCos, are required to resolve complaints from customers. So this particular app being unveiled today is to assist the commission in monitoring whether DisCos are complying with the standard set out in that regulation.
“Originally, the application was designed for crowd-sourcing data for the purpose of service-based tariffs. By crowdsourcing, the application was to sample the quality of supply that customers are experiencing.
“But the commission decided that it is better to put smart meters on all feeders so that we have 100 per cent live data or near real-time data to ensure that the DisCos are actually complying with the service obligations that are prescribed in the tariff orders,” Garba stated.
He said a lot of progress had been made in the smart metering of electricity feeders.
“So for this app, we are encouraging customers to go to the Apple Store or Google Play Store to download it. The app is to help customers report disruptions in supply in their areas,” he stated.
The NERC boss explained that with the application, power users who make complaints would be able to see the progress being made in resolving the issues, adding that the commission would also see this.
“We decided to start this launch in Abuja, and there will be a national roll-out for all distribution companies. But such a massive application would require test-running.
“So the AEDC today is like the guinea pig for the app, but we will quickly expedite the roll-out for other distribution companies,” he stated.
Commenting on the development, the Managing Director, AEDC, Christopher Ezeafulukwe, said the feedback from customers was the raw material needed by DisCos to be able to deliver the services required of them.
“The app being launched today is a product of collaboration between the NERC, DisCos, and, of course, the customers, and this implies that it is going to be a win-win for all of us,” he stated.
On his part, the President, Nigeria Consumer Protection Network, and Coordinator, Power Sector Perspectives, Kunle Olubiyo, said the unveiling of the app was long over in the power sector.
“This is because when you consider the primary essence of regulation, you know that without a close tab on what the Discos are doing; it (the regulation) will be defeated. So this is a good step because NERC from its headquarters here can now monitor what the Discos are doing and not the report that the Discos will give to NERC,” he stated.