28 March 2012, Sweetcrude, ABUJA – The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), has alleged that the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) had been sabotaging the distribution of meters to customers across the country.
Dr Sam Amadi, NERC chairman, made the accusation at a meeting with chief executive officers of the power generation companies in Abuja.
According to him, his commission has enough evidence showing that distribution companies (DISCOs) prefered to work with estimated bills than meters because it gave them opportunity to over-bill customers.
He said: “We have cases of people who pay even more than companies for residential. Even though they have meters, they (distribution companies) don’t go and read these meters.
“I see no reason somebody living in a three bedroom flat will be paying say N3,000 a month and another with similar flat and appliances will be paying N30,000. That is what we call crazy billing. Otherwise it becomes a cheat on the people.”
Amadi noted that the new national electricity tariff billed to come into effect in June, would be “pro-poor and business friendly”, adding that performance-related conditions would be set for DISCOs before they are allowed to implement the new tariff.
“The poor are going to pay less. We can look at N3 to N4 per kilowatt hour for poor people,” he said and described those in this category as customers who consume less than 50kilowat hour per month and so, are classified under residential class 1 of the tariff order.
The residential class 2, which constitutes about 85 per cent of the customers, will have 11 per cent increases in their tariff while the commercial and industrial customers would have higher increase in their tariff. They will be paying N16 to N26 per kilowatt hour.
Reading the riot act to the DISCOs, Amadi said: “This is not a windfall tariff. Even after June 1, when the MYTO 2 tariff will officially commence, no DISCO will collect one dime except they receive a certification from us. That means there are conditions that must be met before the new tariff can be implemented. One is metering.
“We are going to go round to inspect the DISCO to access how much improvement they have made in terms of metering, and if you can meter everybody, we expect you should come up with a standardised framework for billing.”