13 August 2015, Abuja – Electricity distribution companies are frustrating efforts geared at metering customers across the country, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission has said.
According to the commission, the position of metering in Nigeria presently is not satisfactory, stressing that there was an abysmal low level of metering in the Nigerian electricity supply industry.
NERC, in a document on Consultation on Capping Estimated Billing in the NESI, obtained by our correspondent in Abuja stated that as large as 44.06 per cent of all consumers registered were currently not having meters.
NERC said that it had taken a number of initiatives to address the country’s metering gap by ensuring that a commitment was received from the Discos for the implementation of an 18-month phased metering plan to bridge the gap through funding provided for in the capital expenditure of the Multi Year Tariff Order 2.
It added that it also introduced the Credited Advance Programme for Metering Implementation to overcome the problem of lack of funds in dealing with the metering gap, but these measures failed to address the development.
The commission said, “Both initiatives did not yield the desired result. The implementation of the plan was poorly carried out with minimal rollout of meters recorded in all the Discos in spite of provisions made to cover all costs in the MYTO.
“The CAPMI scheme suffered poor implementation in spite of customers’ willingness to make advance payments for meters.”
NERC said it further came up with an estimation methodology to ensure objectivity in the determination of estimated bills for unmetered customers.
It said the methodology was based on cluster average approach that ensured that unmetered customers within the same cluster received bills similar to their metered counterparts with minimal variance.
“This intervention has not yielded the desired results as the distribution companies have failed to implement the methodology citing their inability to meter even feeder levels as the main constraint,” the regulator said.
The document noted that consequent upon the above situation, the electricity market had suffered high incidences of revenue loss.
It said the commission had had cause to take enforcement actions on some operators over arbitrary and outrageous estimation.
NERC said, “It is evident that the incentive for non-metering is the unrestricted estimation which put undue burden on the customers, but the mandate of the commission is to protect not only the operators but the customers.
“It is therefore time to equitably share the burden with the operators who bear the responsibility to meter their customers ab-initio. Hence, the commission is considering to put a ceiling on the amount of consumption that unmetered customers in a particular class could be billed by estimation in a particular month.”