The Federal Government has launched an application that can enable Nigerians to report electricity cuts to distribution companies (DisCos).
The new app, which is named the Power Outage Reporting System, enables electricity consumers to lay complaints of power disruption to their respective distribution companies under the supervision of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).
The commission disclosed that the app, which was tested using the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company, can be downloaded from the Apple Store or Google Play Store.
The NERC Chairman, Sanusi Garba, at the launch of the new app on Monday in Abuja, said the app was also to enable the commission to identify the distribution companies that are ignoring the complaints of their customers.
He said on the app, both NERC and consumers would be able to see the level at which distribution companies attend to complaints.
While explaining the commission’s progress on smart metering of electricity feeders. Garba noted that ”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 crowd-sourcing, 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.
“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.
“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.”
Speaking at the launch, the President, of Nigeria Consumer Protection Network, and Coordinator, of Power Sector Perspectives, Kunle Olubiyo, said such a development was long overdue in the energy 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.