SWITZERLAND, JUNE 08 – The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has ordered electricity distribution companies (Discos) to close the metering gap in the power sector.
The commission which gave a deadline of December 2021 for the completion of the project said 37 per cent or 3.9 million registered energy consumers in the country have been supplied electricity meters by the Discos.
The Discos, however, have denied claims that they are responsible for irregular power supply to consumers by rejecting electricity allocated to them.
NERC, in a latest report, which covers the last quarter of 2019, noted that inadequate metering of consumers has led to apathy on the part of some households who are refusing to pay their estimated electricity bills.
The regulatory agency, chaired by Prof. James Momoh, said of the 10,374,597 registered electricity customers, only 3,918,322 (37.77 per cent) had access to meters.
NERC said: “The metering gap for end-use customers is still a key challenge in the industry. The records of the commission indicate that of the 10,374,597 registered electricity customers, only 3,918,322 (37.77 per cent) has been metered as at the end of the fourth quarter of 2019.
“Thus, 62.37 per cent of the registered electricity customers is still on estimated billing, which has contributed to customer apathy towards payment for electricity.
“In comparison to the third quarter, the number of registered and metered customers increased by 7.23 per cent and 0.59 per cent, respectively.”
The commission explained that the increase in registered customer population was due to the ongoing customer enumeration by the Discos through which unregistered consumers of electricity were brought unto the billing platform.
NERC stated that a review of the customer population data indicated that only Abuja and Benin Discos had metered more than 50 per cent of their registered electricity customers as at the end of December 2019.
However, it added that the commission was continuing its monitoring of Discos’ implementation of and compliance with the provisions of the Meter Asset Providers (MAP) regulations to fast-track meter roll-out.
“With the target of closing the metering gap in NESI by December 31, 2021, the commission, during the quarter, approved the preferred MAPs for the Discos that had finalised their procurement process to contracting MAP(s). In total, the commission had approved 26 MAPs as of December 31, 2019” said NERC.
The commission added that the number of customers’ complaints increased by 2.88 per cent during the fourth quarter of 2019, more than complaints received during the third quarter of 2019.
It said it attended to a total of 160,842 complaints, representing an increase of 5.80 percentage points from the preceding quarter.
“The report shows that Ibadan and Enugu Discos had the lowest customers’ complaints resolution rates based on the proportion of complaints not addressed in the fourth quarter.
“A review of customer complaints statistics indicates that estimated billing, metering and service interruption remain the most significant areas of concerns for customers, accounting for 64.52 per cent (i.e., 114,702) of the total complaints in the fourth quarter of 2019,” it said.