14 October 2018, Sweetcrude, Lagos — To avert recurrent challenges on estimated billing, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, has said it will introduce the capping estimated billing system which will see setting aside the current billing methodology.
In a consultation paper by the Commission, it said the new move comes on the heels of complaints by customers in all the distribution companies in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industries, NESI, leading to calls by stakeholders such as the National Assembly and other customer groups for the Commission to find a more equitable way of ensuring that customers are billed fairly.
NERC said it is fully aware that the Discos have a contractual obligation under the Privatisation programme to meter all their customers within five years as contained in the Performance Agreement signed with the Federal Government of Nigeria.
“This metering obligation has however not been fully met by the Distribution Companies leading to mounting complaints on the side of the customers”, it said.
Using two methods, NERC said billing customers would be based on either; using the average energy as provided for in the Multi-Year-Tariff-Order (MYTO) 2015 for each DisCo to form the basis for computing the maximum Cap for each category of customers to be affected, or using actual energy delivered to metered customers as the basis for deriving the Caps of the various categories of unmetered customers.
But before the new methodology comes into implementation, NERC advised that for effective implementation of the current methodology for estimated billing, it is expected that metering of feeders in the distribution licensee’s networks is done to ensure that the energy delivered to distribution transformers in an area or a cluster is appropriately accounted for.
It also said in addition to required investment in feeder and distribution metering and other overhead costs for the implementation of a method for estimated billing, Discos’ have also been required to invest in IT – infrastructure in order to integrate their vending platforms as a means of determining estimates for energy consumed by customers with prepaid meters.