NERC faults high estimated billing

Meter

The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) in Abuja on Tuesday said 44.06 per cent of registered electricity consumers in the country had no meters.

Mr Shittu Lawal, Assistant General Manager, Customer Service Standard, disclosed this at a public hearing on the establishment of Independent System Operator and Capping Estimated Billings in the Power Sector. The hearing was organised by NERC.

Lawal said metering was a critical component of the electricity chain that served as a parameter for quantifying energy delivered and utilised.

He said section 1(1) of the Meter Reading, Billing and Cash Collection Regulation provided guidance on why and how estimation should be done.

“It is, therefore, imperative that every electricity consumer should be effectively metered to enable fair and transparent billing to take place,’’ he said.

He added that the commission had taken a number of steps to address the metering gap in the sector.

single-phase-induction-kilo-watt-hour-meter

Lawal noted that in spite of the provisions made for distribution companies to recover all costs in the Multi Year Tariff Order, there was still minimal roll-out of meters. “While the efforts at accelerated metering has proved abortive, the customers still groan under high estimated billing that are often not related to the energy supplied,” he said.

He said that the best approach to achieve customer satisfaction was to provide quality service at an equitable rate that is objectively determined through actual meter reading.

Although he did not specify, Lawal said the commission had taken some decisive actions against companies that billed consumers arbitrarily.

However, some distribution companies have rejected the proposed establishment of an Independent System Operator by NERC. Mr Abimbola Odubiyi, Executive Director, Regulatory and Stakeholders Affairs, Abuja Electricity Distribution Company, said its establishment would create more costs in the industry.

He said it would be appropriate to amend the Electricity Act before the establishment of the body.

Odubiyi noted that the power sector was not yet competitive enough to establish the body.

Mr Kingsley Achife, Executive Director, Distribution Services, Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company, said the country’s electricity market lacked transparency for the establishment of ISO. He said the operator would not add any value to the electricity consumers in the country.

When established, the ISO would be saddled with planning, coordinating, controlling and monitoring the Nigerian electricity transmission grid.

By Olisemeka Obeche

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