Electricity distribution companies (DisCos) arrived on Tuesday with an April 30 deadline to meter certain categories of consumers.
The Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), which placed the order, said that these customers will no longer pay the estimated bills at the end of the month.
In addition, the regulator limited the estimated turnover of all categories of customers by DisCos across the country.
In his new order – Order no / NERC / 197/2020 – issued yesterday, the regulator said the new meter measures became necessary as a result of customer complaints about unrealistic billing from unmetered customers.
The President of NERC, Prof. James Momoh, and Legal, Licensing and Compliance Commissioner Dafe Akpeneye, said the new Order has repealed the estimated charging regulations for 2012.
They said: “At the transitional limit of estimated bills issued to customers not meter by distribution companies in the Nigeria electricity supply industry (NESI), the new order repeals the NERC methodology for the 2012 estimated charging regulations and comes into effect as of February 20, 2020. “
The Commission reported that it had fulfilled its mandate, as provided for in section 32 (10) (a) of the Electricity Sector Reform Act 2004 (EPSRA) and in section 96 of EPSRA. According to the Order, DisCos are required to measure customers according to the required performance standard.
He noted that the essence of investors’ acquisition of majority shares of the government was to measure many uncontrolled customers, but, unfortunately, there was little change in the situation, as the implantation of meters by DisCos was overcome by the growth in the number of customers.
NERC said the data obtained from the customer enumeration showed that the customer population grew from five million in 2012 to more than 10 million at the end of December last year, with about 52% of the population billed based on estimated revenue.
In view of the above, a standard estimated billing methodology became imperative in this transition period, necessary to close the measurement gap to protect customers from being charged arbitrarily against their actual consumption.
According to the NERC Order, customers to be charged in the estimate include those with defective meters, those whose meters cannot be read and existing customers without meters.
He added that the unrealistic billing of uncontrolled customers accounted for 65% of complaints in customer centers, forums and in DisCos’ appeals to the Commission.
After the new Order, NERC said that the estimated Billing Methodology Regulation has been repealed and will cease to have an effect as a basis for calculating the consumption of unmeasured customers.
He said: “DisCos must ensure that all customers in class A1 tariffs are properly identified and measured by April 30, 2020. Single-phase R2 customers now have a power limit of 78kwhr per month and a rate of N24 kwhr.
The maximum amount charged to this customer is N1, 872 per month. This billing is limited during the transition period until they are measured, but the Commission noted that the actual amount will vary in the event that any tariff revision affects this class of customers.
“Residents who consume less than 50kwh will be charged N4 per kwhr and a maximum of N200 per month.