22 November 2018, Sweetcrude, Lagos — Five years after the privatisation of the Nigerian power sector, about 60 percent of electricity customers in the country remain unmetered, data from the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, have shown.
The performance agreement executed between the Bureau of Public Enterprises, BPE, and the core investors in the eleven electricity distribution companies or Discos provides for the installation of end-use meters based on agreed targets.
But NERC’s consultation paper on the Capping of Estimated Billing for unmetered electricity customers said actual performance as of August 2018 indicated that six in ten customers were unmetered and, therefore, subjected to estimated billing.
The Discos have consistently blamed slow metering pace on cash problems resulting from non-cost reflective tariffs in the power sector. According to them, it had been almost difficult to recoup their investments after 5 years.
In another report, NERC said electricity consumers were refusing to pay their bills due to issues arising from estimated billing and poor quality of supply in most load centres.
The commission disclosed that cash problems remained the “most significant” challenge affecting the industry’s sustainability.