NERC exempts unmetered consumers from paying bills

*Power distribution lines for both metered and unmetered consumers.

*Power distribution lines for both metered and unmetered consumers.

Oscarline Onwuemenyi

10 November 2015, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has exempted electricity consumers who have made payment for meters under the Cash Advance Payment for Metering Initiative (CAPMI) but were not metered two weeks in excess of the required 45 days from further payment of electricity bills.

This was the highlight of the last regulatory meeting of the Commission where it frowned at the rising incidence of electricity distribution companies’ failure to abide by the guidelines for CAPMI scheme as many customers who subscribed to CAPMI scheme are not metered within 45 days.

NERC in a statement yesterday noted that there has been increasing number of complaints from electricity customers over failure of electricity distribution companies to install meters within the stipulated 45 days.

In a resolution after the regulatory meeting the Commission ruled that, “Customers who have subscribed to the CAPMI Scheme should be metered within 45 days. Therefore, there shall be no case of estimated billing for such customers from two weeks after the expiry of the 45 day time frame.”

The present methodology for calculation of estimated billing, which relies on clustering of areas or neighbourhood with similar social economic status, was retained by the meeting while calling on electricity companies to suggest alternative methodologies for the Commission’s consideration as some of them have been caught violating the methodology.

CAPMI was initiated by the Commission following complaints by most distribution companies over lack of funds to execute their metering plans.

A recent study by NERC indicated about 50 per cent metering gap in the electricity market.

Under the scheme, willing electricity customers are allowed to pay into a dedicated account opened by the electricity distribution companies for purchase and installation of meters 45 days after payment.

NERC stated that such customers should be refunded their money with interest over a period of time by discounting the fixed charged element of their monthly bills.

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