The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) is tasked with the responsibility of maximizing access to electricity services by promoting and facilitating consumer connections to distribution systems.
The commission is also mandated to ensure that prices charged by licensees are fair to consumers and are sufficient to allow licensees to finance their activities and allow for reasonable earning for efficient operation.
In recent years, the bulk of consumer complaints have centered on customer dissatisfaction with the way they are billed.
This is largely due to the absence of meters to measure consumption, which in turn results in estimated billing.
Metering is also key to ensuring accountability and transparency in the Nigeria Electricity Supply Industry (NESI).
The commission in a bid to forestall the menace of exorbitant billing introduced the Credit Advance Payment for Metering Implementation (CAPMI) scheme, which is an optional scheme that allows willing customers to advance funds the purchase and installation of meters.
Furthermore, metering is a critical component of the business of electricity; it serves as the only parameter for quantifying energy delivered and energy utilized.
Condition 41 (2) of the Distribution Company (DISCOs) license terms and condition stipulates that “operational meters should first be installed before connection”.
Section (1) of the regulation on connection and disconnection procedures stipulates that a distribution company shall fit meter and connect electricity supply in line with the commission customer services standard performance.
Therefore, the recent audit revealed instances of specific breaches in CAPMI implementation and the consequences of the above failure lead to the electricity market to suffer high incidence of revenue loss in the form of customers who continue to contest arbitrarily bills and those customers who are reluctant to pay for what they call “crazy bill” and sometimes outright power theft.
Also this intervention is crucial in monitoring the implementation of order No. 142.1 issued by NERC to AEDC on the implementation of MYTO 2015 as it relates to Performance Agreement and Service Standards signed by both parties on the 21st December, 2015 that took effect since 1st February 2016.
CEYWI therefore, call on all stakeholders especially the organised labour organisations, organised private sectors, National Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (NASME) and political leaders, Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), communities, schools, religious leaders, and CSOs groups to call on the Minister of Power, Works and Housing NOT to approve the proposed 100% increment in electricity tariff in the great interest of the populace.
CEYWI further calls on ALL DISCOs:
1. To strictly adhere to the approved minimum benchmark for covering their metering gaps as contained in their respective Performance Contract before requesting for any tariff increment through NERC.
2. Are encouraged to surpass their metering targets and this should be very closely monitored by the Commission as a way of transparency and accountability in the power sector.
3. Should not be too anxious to review the current tariff and wait for the agreed 2017 as contained in the MYTO2.
4. Should act in line with the Commission’s Regulation on Meter Reading Billing and Collection as well as Connection and Disconnection Regulation, all new connections must be done strictly on the basis of metering before connection.
5. That all customers who paid for CAPMI must be metered within the time stipulated in the Commission’s Resolution or not billed after the 60 days’ time limit for metering. In the period after the expiration of the 60 days such customers should not be disconnected.
6. That DISCOs should strictly adhered to the Table of Energy Charges for Electricity Distribution Companies that came into effect from 1st February 2016 and continue to be in force until 31st December 2024 is as shown in order 142.1 MULTI YEAR TARIFF ORDER (MYTO) – 2015 FOR ABUJA ELECTRICITY DISTRIBUTION COMPANY (AEDC) FOR THE PERIOD 1sTJANUARY 2015 TO DECEMBER 2024 herein before, subject to the provisions of this Order.
Halima Muhammad Rabiu)
Head, Gender and SDGs