Lack of Consumer Awareness: A Major Challenge for Electricity Consumer Protection in Nigeria
- Dahiru Jafaru Usman
- Nurli Yaacob
- Aspalella Rahman
Purpose: This study explores the challenges for consumer protection in the Nigerian deregulated electricity sector. The study argues that ignorant and unenlightened consumers are easy prey for exploitation in the marketplace. Educating the consumer minimizes consumer exploitation and enhances consumer protection.
Design/methodology/approach: The study is qualitative. Twenty in-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted with the relevant stakeholders involved in consumer protection and standard setting in the Nigerian electricity sector. The study adopted the Benner’s Interpretive Phenomenology and explored the everyday practical experience and perspectives of the participants on the challenges of consumer protection. The analysis was thematically conducted and accordingly supported by sufficient excerpts.
Findings: The study found several challenges for consumer protection in the Nigerian electricity sector. Emphatically, the participants were unanimous on lack of awareness as the major challenge for the electricity consumers’ protection.
Research limitations: The research participants were only staff from consumer protection and products standard setting agencies, academics, and heads of consumer organizations. Additionally, the paper only addressed the challenge of lack of awareness and the data collection constrained by funds paucity and difficulties in securing appointments with the busy participants.
Practical implications: The study suggests that consumer protection agencies need to do more in the area of consumer education and enlightenment otherwise the exploitation of the Nigerian electricity consumers will continue.
Originality/value: Consumer protection literature abounds. This study is, however, the first attempt at qualitatively exploring in-depth the challenges for electricity consumers in deregulated electricity sector. The study emphasized the value of consumer awareness for better consumer protection.
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