The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has declared that electricity consumers that were not provided with prepaid meters as at March 1, should stop paying electricity bills presented by DISCOs on the basis of estimated billing methodology.
The commission also ordered the Distribution Companies (DISCOs) not to disconnect any such customer who refuses to pay the bills. Customers are also advised to report to the commission if disconnected.The NERC said the new directive is in line with its mandate of protecting the rights of customers.
With reports from NAIJ.com, the NERC had in June 2016 directed DISCOs to conclude the metering of all customers before November 30, 2016, a deadline the DISCOs failed to meet.
“A directive was issued to distribution companies by the commission in June 2016 for all Maximum Demand (MD) customers to be metered by 30 November 2016.
“The commission received appeals on compliance deadline from distribution companies prior to the expiration of the 30 November 2016 deadline. The deadline was extended to 1 March 2017 after consideration of appeals received from distribution companies.
“Upon due consideration of facts above and the expiration of the compliance deadline granted to distribution companies on the metering of MD customers; the commission hereby directs as follows;
1. Any MD customer that was not metered by 1 March 2017 shall not pay any electricity bill presented by a distribution company on the basis of estimated billing methodology and these customers are advised to report this to the commission.
2. No distribution company shall disconnect any MD customer that was not metered by 1 March 2017 on the basis of the customer’s refusal to pay a bill issued after the compliance deadline on the basis of estimated billing methodology.
3. Any MD customer that was not metered by 1 March 2017 should notify the commission directly Clarfying the directive, the Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors (ANED) said the NERC statement applies to MD customers and not residential.
In an ensuing interview with the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, in Abuja on Sunday, June 11, the Chief Executive Officer of ANED, Azu Obiaya, made the clarification.
According to him, Maximum Demand (MD) customers are commercial and industrial customers who consume high levels of electricity and contribute substantially to the revenues of distribution companies.
“We recognise that our residential consumers will be interested in this notice thinking that it applies to them in their need for meters, and we recognise that everyone will like to be metered, we are working towards that. But this time, that notice by NERC is specific for maximum demand customers,” Obiaya said.
Edited by McDike Dimkpa