A Review of the Nigerian Energy Industry

NERC bars Discos from connecting new customers without meters

25 August 2015, Abuja – The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has placed an embargo on connection of new electricity consumers without adequate metering facilities by Distribution Companies (Discos).

Prepaid-meters-360x225NERC said it opted to restrict the Discos to encourage adequate and prompt deployment of prepaid meters in their network.

It also explained that the new measure would discourage bulk metering and estimated billing, which most of the Discos have resorted to without complying with the regulation on methodology for estimation of consumption of electricity as approved by the agency.

Chairman of NERC, Dr. Sam Amadi, who recently informed journalists in Abuja of this decision, explained that the regulatory agency was also on the verge of concluding a public consultation that could determine an average cap on the amount consumers without electricity meters will be allowed to pay to a Disco, pending the deployment of meter by the Disco.

Amadi also commented on the practice of bulk metering of communities by Discos and called on communities to reject such practice and insist on individual metering by the Discos.

“The commission monitors all complaints reported to the Discos on a monthly basis and analyses the reports to ensure that Discos carry out their responsibilities. As a consequence, we recently penalised Abuja Disco for overbilling its customers and ordered it to refund the overbilled amount and apologise to the customers for the wrongful estimation.

“Abuja Disco has refunded about 32,000 customers so affected. The refund ranged between N5000 and N15, 000 per customer, adding up to over N50 million,” Amadi said.

He further stated: “Communities who are placed on bulk billing should reject it and insist on individual metering.”

The commission, he added, “is in the process of completing public consultation on a proposal to cap the amount an unmetered customer can pay until he or she is metered.”

“The proposal will also commit distribution companies to strict deadlines for metering of all its customers. In the interim, the commission has abolished connection of new customers without meter,” Amadi noted.

The senate had recently queried NERC on the legality of the fixed charge component of electricity bills of consumers in the country.

The legislators, who called for its abolition, equally asked the commission to explain why Discos have remained sluggish in deployment of meters to their customers and instead continued with estimated billing.

NERC has however agreed that the Discos have abused its regulation on estimated billing.

– This Day

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