*Commission gives deadlines for migration
*All billing systems canceled
Lagos — Electricity market regulator, NERC, on 31st of last month gave all electricity distribution companies, DisCos a directive – to migrate some of its customers, not all, to cashless payment of electricity bills and other revenue collection avenues – who are the class of customers affected in the shift?
The order, NERC said came from the federal government, and it affects only the R3 class of residential customers, industrial and commercial customers.
The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission said the order mandated by section 32( 1Ha) of the Electric Power Sector Reform Act, EPSRA “to create, promote, and preserve efficient industry and market structures, and to ensure the optimal utilisation of resources for the provision of electricity services”, is in the development of a financially sustainable electricity market that serves the needs of end-use customers with adequate, reliable and affordable electricity that is an essential requirement for the socio-economic development of Nigeria.
One of the crucial factors underpinning the privatisation of distribution licensees, DisCos in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry, NESI was the aggressive reduction of aggregate technical, commercial and collection losses.
To this end, the federal government issued a policy directive that requires the mandatory transition of certain classes of end-use customers of DisCos from direct cash settlement of bills to cashless settlement platforms in order to reduce collection leakages/losses and improve overall revenue assurance in NESI.
Citing the provisions of section 10 of the Meter Reading, Billing, Cash Collections and Credit Management for Electricity Supplies Regulations, 2007, NERC said all DisCos should transit to cashless settlement platforms for the billing/collection of industrial and commercial customers by 31 January 2020, and for R3 class of residential customers, by 31 March 2020.
To ensure the cashless policy works in addition to allowing full accountability of energy flow, NERC also mandated all DisCos to have installed appropriate metering infrastructure that is integrated with the CMS of all industrial, commercial and R3 class of residential customers by 31 December 2020.
The order which comes into effect from January 2nd “supersedes, overrides, extinguishes” all other forms of billing and collections from industrial, commercial and R3 residential class of customers of DisCos, according to NERC.
The Commission said compliance with the process is already being monitored by its team and those of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.