The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission has directived the electricity Distribution Companies to ensure prompt replacement of faulty and obsolete meters for their electricity consumers.
According to the Commission, DisCos are expected to give priority to the metering of unmetered customers under the
National Mass Metering Program.
It ordered DisCos to replace faulty/obsolete meters under the National Mass Metering Program compliance with the metering code and other regulatory instruments of the Commission.
It stated, “New meters must be installed upon the removal of the faulty/obsolete meter and under no circumstances shall the customer be placed on estimated billing on account of the DisCo’s failure to install a replacement meter after the removal of the faulty/obsolete meter.
“The customer and DisCo representative shall jointly note the units on the meter
being replaced and the customer must be credited with these units within 48 hours
after the installation of the meter.”
The Commission in a publication Order No. NERC/246/2021, noted that seven million customers in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry are unmetered, adding that over three million meters are obsolete and due for replacement.
It further noted the existence of unmetered customers contributes to the threat of financial stability of the electricity market.
“The Commission notes that over seven million customers are currently unmetered as indicated by customer enumeration data. It is also estimated that an additional three million meters are currently obsolete and due for replacement.
“The existence of a large population of unmetered customers contributed to threats affecting the financial viability of NESI as unmetered end-use customers expressed deep dissatisfaction with the estimated billing methodology.”
The Commission also noted that revenue assurance objectives of DisCos has also been challenged by inability to properly account for the utilisation of electricity by end-use customers.
“Customers shall only be billed for loss of revenue where the DisCo establishes meter tampering, by-pass or unauthorised access as contained in NERC Order/REG/ 41/2017 on Unauthorised Access, Meter Tampering and Bypass.
“Activation tokens shall be issued to customers immediately after replacement of the faulty/obsolete meter,” it stated.