The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission has said electricity consumers across the country who are on estimated billing are to pay lesser than their counterparts who have been provided with meters,
The Chairman of NERC, Dr. Sam Amadi, who said this at a press meeting in Abuja, said a new regulation was coming to oblige electricity distribution companies to provide meters for all their customers within four months or accept a cap on what they could charge as estimated bills.
Amadi said after four months of moratorium, the firms would not be able to charge such consumers beyond what would be prescribed according to the region or zone where the customer was based.
According to him, the ceiling of the tariff, which a customer on estimated billing can pay, is an incentive for the distribution firms to metre call customers, adding that the capped tariff would be significantly lower than what metred customers pay.
The NERC boss said after 16 months, customers of a distribution company who had not been metred would be freed from paying any tariff at all until they were provided with meters.
He said, “In view of the Discos’ negative attitude to metering, an option worth considering to incentivise metering is to place a limit on the ability of a Disco to arbitrarily estimate consumers who are not metered.
“This has the tendency of encouraging the Discos to accelerate the implementation of metering plans that have been talked about but not implemented before privatisation and after taking over the management of the Discos.”
He added that, the commission has chosen to issue an order setting the cap but with an efficient operation date after a moratorium of four months to allow the distribution companies to aptly adjust their metering programmes.
All estimates being imposed by the Discos within the moratorium period shall be sternly based on the commission’s billing estimation methodology. As soon as the capping regulation starts, the extant regulation on estimation methodology will be vacated.
“Metering is a critical component of the business of electricity. It serves as the only parameter for quantifying energy delivered and energy utilised by the supplier and consumer respectively” Amadi said.