Electricity consumers whose meters are yet to be delivered months after payment may heave a sigh of relief as Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) said it has given the distribution companies (Discos) two weeks to get them delivered.
NERC Chairman, Dr. Sam Amadi, who disclosed this during a meeting with electricity distribution companies and stakeholders on Aggregate Technical Commercial and Collection loss studies in Abuja yesterday, said the commission will view very seriously, failure to meter these consumers.
According to Amadi, “by this week, we are sending letters to all the Discos which the Commissioner for Consumer Affairs is already preparing. We will give Discos two weeks to make sure they fully meter all those who have paid because the order of the commission is 45 days. And so after the two weeks, we will be conducting public hearings to ascertain whether all those who have paid for CAPMI meters have been metered.
“And the commission will view very seriously failure to meter these consumers. So I want to assure those of you writing to us with complaints that they have paid for CAPMI meters in the last three to four months we will ensure that in coming weeks that those who have not been metered are properly metered. And Discos that have not metered their consumers who paid for those meters themselves will be sanctioned,” he stated.
He assured all customers with complaints about metering that their case would be pursued to a logical conclusion.
Earlier on, NERC had explained that it was working hard to ensure that electricity distribution companies provided meters for their customers, pointing out that the metering gap in the country was huge.
Amadi, who was speaking on the sidelines of an event in Abuja said, “our expectation is that metering will increase, but let us be very careful. The metering gap in Nigeria is about 50 per cent and we don’t expect that gap to be closed in a short while. What we expect to see is a significant and consistent effort by the distribution companies to keep metering their customers.
“Of course, the gap can close quickly if increase in capacity results in increase in revenue, and the regulator will benchmark that increase in revenue. But we expect to see continuous and good effort by the Discos to meter their consumers and quickly close down the gap. But the gap will still be there for some time because it is a huge gap.”
On the methodology employed by the Discos in billing non-metered consumers, Amadi said the commission had educated the power firms on how to go about it properly.
He said, “we worked them through the methodology and this is because some of them are new in the sector. By this methodology, before the Discos estimate your bill, they would have looked at the energy supply in that cluster.
“They would have looked at the metered customers in that cluster and be able to have a much more accurate estimation. What is going on now in some cases is not estimation, it is just arbitrary way of tariff and we have expressed a very strong disapproval on that. Give and take, there will be some margin of error, but it will come close to some level of accuracy.
“A consumer should also be able to benchmark his bill based on what his metered neighbour is receiving as tariff. So if, for example, an average customer in your area pays N5,000 or N10,000 and your Disco is giving you N15,000 bill, that is a smoking gun.”
Amadi said such customer should contest the validity of the bill “and by regulation, they (Discos) should be able to respond to you within a given time. And if they fail, you can go to the forum office to make your complaint.”
The NERC boss noted that there were sanctions against any Disco that failed to comply with the recommendations of the forum office or the regulator if such complaints were just.
Source : SunOnline