President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the commencement of a nationwide mass-metering programme as part efforts to put an end to estimated and arbitrary billing for electricity by Electricity Distribution Companies (DISCOs) in Nigeria.

Prof. James Momoh, Chairman, Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), who disclosed this in Abuja, said the president’s directive was in response to the yearnings of Nigerians, who have been complaining about estimated billing.

According to him, the president also approved a waiver of the import levy on meters, so that those that do not have meters can be supplied as early as possible at reasonable costs.

Momoh urged the public and all stakeholders in the power sector to disregard any reports of an arbitrary tariff increase affecting Nigerians.

He said that measures had been put in place to protect the poor and vulnerable in cases of tariff reviews. He explained that tariff reviews would only follow service-based principles. He said: “Under these service-based principles Distribution Companies (DISCOs) will only be able to review tariff rates for customers when they consult with customers, commit to increasing the number of hours of supply per day and quality of service. In all cases, poor and vulnerable Nigerians will not experience any increase; in line with these expectations, DISCOs are directed to engage with their customers on a Service Based Tariff structure.

Momoh noted that under the Service Based Tariff Structure, DISCOs can only review tariffs for customers under the following conditions: “Customers are consulted and communicated a guaranteed level of electricity service by the DISCOs based on hours of supply. No estimated billing through the strict enforcement of the capping regulation; this means that unmetered customers will not experience any cost increase beyond what is chargeable to metered customers in the same area.”

He added that under the aforementioned conditions, there would be no change in tariff for the most vulnerable as tariffs for those consuming 50KW or less remained frozen. He said that customers receiving less than 12 hours of supply will also not experience any change in tariffs.

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