A High Court sitting in Ughelli, the administrative headquarter of Ughelli north local government area of Delta State, has ordered the Benin Electricity Distribution PLC (BEDC), to stop issuing estimated billing to Pastor Emmanuel O. Jewo, Joseph E. Ogedegbe, Sunny Esq., Asanuvwie, Esq., E.S. Okhiria, Esq for themselves and members of the Ughelli Branch of the Nigeria Bar Association.
Others are Lady Patience Ajeoyibo Taghwo, Mr. Jonathan Ubogun for themselves and on behalf of numerous members and interested residents of Ughelli town and environ as Claimants in suit No. UCH/81)2021.
The Court presided over by His Lordship, Hon. Justice J.A Edun, on the 8th of March 2022, declared that by the provision of the Electric Power Sector Reform Act 2005 ORDER NO/NERC/211/2020, of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission’s amended order on the capping of estimated bills for Benin Electricity Distribution PLC 2020 and indeed any other law of regulation, the Defendant is not legally empowered and or entitled to issue or serve very high, unreasonable and exorbitant estimated electricity bills on the Claimants and other customers of the Defendant in Ughelli town and environ.
“A Declaration that the action of the Defendant in among other things deliberately issuing and or serving the Claimants and other customers of the Defendant in Ughelli town and environ with very high, unreasonable and exorbitant estimated electricity bills is wrongful, unlawful, illegal and contrary to the provisions of the law.
“A Declaration that by virtue of the Electric Power Section Reform Act 2005, Chapter IV, Section 11and 16(1) of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission’s Meter Asset Provider Regulation 2018 (Regulation NO. NERC-R-112) Part 3 Section 113 of the metering code (otherwise known as “MC”) For the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry, Order NO. NERC/246/2021 of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission’s ordered on the structured Replacement of faculty/Obsolete Meters of End-Use customers and indeed any other law or regulations, the Defendant has a burden to issue prepaid meters to the Customers and other or all Customers of the Defendant in Ughelli town and environ for the purpose of accurately determining the energy consumption of the Claimants and the said Customers of the Defendant in Ughelli town.
“An Order of Court directing the Defendant to immediately carry out mass metering of residents of Ughelli town and its environ and issue prepaid meters to the Claimants within one week from the date judgement is delivered in this suit.
“An Order of Court directing the Defendant to immediately replace any faulty/obsolete prepaid meters earlier issued to any of the Claimants and other Customers of the Defendant in Ughelli town and environ”.
The court equally directed BEDC to immediately review all the electricity bills issued and served to the 3rd, 5th and 6th Claimants in line with the orders of ruling dated 25th September 2020 and 12th of February 2021 respectively made against the Defendant in favour of the Claimants by the Asaba Forum office if the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission.
The court capped the electricity consumption of the Claimants at the minimum of N2, 000.