11 June 2017, Sweetcrude, Abuja — The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has advised electricity consumers not provided with prepared meters by March 1 to stop paying electric bills presented by Distribution Companies, DISCOs, on the basis of estimated billing.
NERC also directed the DISCOs not to disconnect any customer who refuses to pay electricity bills while advising customers who get disconnected on account of this advisory to report to the commission.
The NERC directive was contained in a statement published on its website adding that this was part of an effort to sanction defaulting DISCOs who failed to provide metres for its customers before the March 1 deadline.
NERC had in June 2016 after consultation with the operators, directed DISCOs to conclude metering of all customers before November 30, 2016, in line with its mandate to protect the rights of customers.
NERC granted a three months moratorium which expired on March 1, to enable the DISCOs effectively execute the metering deployment plan for MD customers.
The Commission disclosed that the sanction follows the expiration of the initial directives by NERC and the moratorium period given to DISCOs to meter consumers.
“A directive was issued to distribution companies by the Commission in June 2016 for all MD customers to be metered by 30 November 2016.
“The Commission received appeals on compliance deadline from distribution companies prior to the expiration of the 30 November 2016 deadline. The deadline was extended to 1 March 2017 after consideration of appeals received from distribution companies.
“Upon due consideration of facts above and the expiration of the compliance deadline granted to distribution companies on the metering of MD customers; the Commission hereby directs as follows –
“1. Any MD customer that was not metered by 1 March 2017 shall not pay any electricity bill presented by a distribution company on the basis of estimated billing methodology and these customers are advised to report this to the Commission.
“2. No distribution company shall disconnect any MD customer that was not metered by 1 March 2017 on the basis of the customer’s refusal to pay a bill issued after the compliance deadline on the basis of estimated billing methodology.
“3. Any MD customer that was not metered by 1 March 2017 should notify the Commission directly.” The statement read in part.