24 January 2017, Lagos – The 11 electricity distribution companies (Discos) in Nigeria’s electricity sector would be sanctioned by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) if they fail to complete the metering of maximum demand (MD) electricity consumers in their network by the end of February 2017, the regulator has said.
NERC said it would commence regulatory sactions against any of the Discos that fail to comply with its order on completing the metering of MD customers starting from March 1, 2017. It noted that it had given the Discos enough grace period to undertake this, and would not extend the grace period further.
A notice by the commission in Abuja to the Discos stated this. It also directed MD consumers to report to its consumer forum offices across the country on failures of the Discos to provide meters to them.
“The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) in line with its mandate to ensure that the rights of electricity customers are protected and guarantee investors fair returns on their investments had in June 2016, after consultation with the operators, directed electricity distribution companies (Discos) to conclude metering of all maximum demand (MD) electricity customers in their networks not later than November 30, 2016.
“The Commission at the expiration of that notice granted three months moratorium which expires February 28, 2017 to enable the Discos effectively execute the metering deployment plan for MD customers,” said the regulatory notice.
It further explained that following the directives and imminent approach of the expiration date of the moratorium period, it had to remind the Discos of its intention to commence regulatory action against any of them that defaults.
“Any electricity customer on MD category who is yet to be metered as at February 28, 2017 should report to the commission,” NERC said, while insisting that complaints of customers who advanced monies to the Discos through the now rested Credited Advance Payment for Metering Initiatives (CAPMI) would be taken care of through its complaint redress mechanism.
According to NERC, maximum demand electricity customers are categorised as those connected on the 11Kv (high tension wire) electricity lines, mostly with their dedicated transformers.
They include heavy users of electricity like commercial business plazas, and small scale industries among others.
NERC in June 2016 stated that it took the decision to enforce its MD metering directive because of the rising complaints from all categories of electricity customers over estimated bills from the Discos, and which they considered irreconcilable with the available power supply in the networks.
It also noted that while some of the maximum demand customers had indicated their willingness to key into CAPMI, which before it was scrapped permitted willing electricity customer to pay for meter by advancing money to Discos who then install meters to them within 45 days, the Discos reportedly remained reluctant to accept such requests.
- This Day