Despite FG’s Mass Metering Programme, 60% Of Electricity Consumers Unmetered—NERC
Out of every 10 registered electricity customers, six are currently without prepaid meters and are therefore on estimated billing system.
Estimated billing is a system of charging unmetered electricity consumers for electrical energy consumed based on their previous usage, without considering the actual quantity of energy consumed.
Consumers in this system are mandated to pay far above what they consumed on monthly basis.
THE WHISTLER had reported how electricity consumers are being intimidated and frustrated by officials of the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company, and the Licensed Electrical Contractors Association of Nigeria (LECAN) while seeking prepaid meters.
It was reported that unless you’re willing to grease their palms to ‘fast track’ your meter application or prepared to engage in fervent prayers, a consumer may have to wait for “a very long time” before their application is approved and their device installed.
Several power consumers in the FCT confirmed to this website that despite the Federal Government’s declaration that prepaid meters were free, some of them were made to pay.
Officials were accused of demanding between N15,000 and up to N90,000 to help “fast track” approval and installation of prepaid meters which, according to the Federal Government, were supposed to be distributed freely to electricity consumers under the Government’s National Mass Metering Programme (NMMP) which kicked off in late 2020.
But in the second quarter 2021 report of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, it decried the huge metering gap in Nigeria, describing it as a key challenge in the power sector.
Specifically, the Commission stated that about 40 per cent of power users in Nigeria had been metered, meaning that the rest 60 per cent customers would be receiving estimated bills.
The Commission further noted that complaints bordering on metering were among the highest concerns recorded by Discos during the reviewed period.
It stated that during the second quarter of 2021, 11 Discos received 241,476 complaints from consumers.
This is about 1.91 per cent higher than the complaints received in the first quarter of 2021.
It said, “The huge metering gap for end-use customers is still a key challenge in the industry. The records of the commission indicate that, of the 11,058,939 registered energy customers as at June 30, 2021, only 4,529,497 (40.95 per cent) have been metered.
“This implies that out of every 10 registered electricity customers, six are without meters; thus, they are on estimated billing.
“Using averages three-month consumptions of metered customers on each feeder, maximum allowed energy consumption estimates were computed for each customer category and tariff band.
“Thus, for each class of customer on a feeder, an energy estimation cap is established to guide the Discos (distribution companies) and thus protect unmetered customers from being over charged while awaiting appropriate metering.”