20 November 2018, Sweetcrude, Lagos — Five years after the privatisation of the Nigeria power sector, a NERC consultation paper on the Capping of Estimated Billing for unmetered electricity customers shows that six out of every ten electricity customers remain unmetered.
The performance agreement executed between the Bureau of Public Enterprises, BPE and the core investors in the eleven electricity distribution companies, DisCos, provide for the installation of end-use meters based on agreed targets.
However, the actual performance as of August 2018 indicates that about every six in ten customers are unmetered and therefore, subjected to estimated billing.
According to statistics, Abuja DisCos with 967, 667 customer population has metered 526, 173 customers, while 441, 494 customers representing 46 percent remain unmetered.
Benin DisCo has 887, 966 however, 548, 261 have been unmetered while 339, 705, 38 percent remain unmetered.
For Eko DisCo, the firm has 493, 639 customer population. A total of 235, 068 have been metered, leaving 258, 571, 52 percent yet to get meters.
The Enugu DisCo has a total of 935, 860 of customers under its unit, however, it has been able to meter just 312, 385 leaving 623, 475 representing 67 percent, unmetered.
The DisCos have consistently blamed slow metering pace on liquidity from non-cost reflective tariffs in the power sector. According to them, it had been almost difficult to recoup their investments and running costs even after 5 years.
In another report, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission had said electricity consumers are refusing to pay their bills due to issues arising from estimated billing and poor quality of supply in most load centres.
The commission disclosed that financial illiquidity remains the “most significant” challenge affecting the industry’s sustainability.
For instance, out of the ₦171.1billion billed to customers in the first quarter of 2018, only ₦106.6billion was recovered, representing 62.3% collection efficiency.
This means that out of every ₦10 worth of electricity sold during the quarter under review, ₦3.8 is uncollected.
Ibadan DisCo has quite a huge customer population, in fact, the largest among the DisCos- 1,688,989. A total of 687, 652 have been metered while 1, 001, 337 are unmetered representing 59 percent.
Ikeja DisCo has the second largest customer population of 910, 338. While 447, 299 have been metered, 463, 039, 51 percent are yet to get their meters.
For Jos DisCo with 486, 198 customer base, 170, 409 have been metered while 65 percent, 315, 789 are yet to get their meters.
Seventy-two percent, 394, 042 out of 543, 630 of Kaduna DisCo’s customers are yet to be metered. Just 149, 588 have been metered.
Already, 382, 101 customers have been metered out of 508, 640 customers of Kano DisCo, leaving 126, 539 representing 75 percent yet to be reached.
While Port Harcourt Disco has reached 316, 214 customers out of 523, 693, 207, 479 are yet to be metered.
Yola DisCo being the least populated utility house, with 346, 220 customers, just 71, 580 have got meters while 274, 640 representing 79 percent are yet to be reached.
NERC said the objective of the Meter Access Providers, MAP regulation is to close the metering gap within three years of the procurement process by the DisCos.