Regardless of mass meter deployment, 6.3 million customers remain unmetered – NERC report.
In spite of the mass deployment of meters by the Federal Government, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has put the number of unmetered power users across the country at about 6.3 million
In its just-released Second Quarter 2021 report, the commission lamented the huge metering gap in Nigeria, describing it as a key challenge in the power sector.
This report came in spite of the Federal Government’s recent announcement that it had deployed about one million meters to power users nationwide.
In October this year, the government said it provided about one million free meters for electricity consumers in the past 10 months under its National Mass Metering Programme (NMMP).
Reports, however, revealed at the time that the number of unmetered power users in Nigeria had increased by about two million, while the metering gap at the start of the NMMP in 2020 was about six million.
The Special Assistant to the President on Infrastructure, Ahmed Zakari, had disclosed this during a live television interview session monitored in Abuja.
An analysis of the NERC’s latest second-quarter 2021 report on Monday showed that only a little above 40 percent of power users in Nigeria had been metered, meaning that the rest of the customers would be receiving estimated bills.
“The huge metering gap for end-use customers is still a key challenge in the industry. The records of the commission indicate that of the 11,058,939 registered energy customers as of June 30, 2021, only 4,529,497 (40.95 percent) have been metered. This implies that out of every 10 registered electricity customers, six are without meters; thus, they are on estimated billing”, The NERC report stated.
The commission, however, further stated that it had put in place a mechanism to prevent outrageous estimated billing of its customers
“Using averages of three-month consumptions of metered customers on each feeder, maximum allowed energy consumption estimates were computed for each customer category and tariff band,” it stated.
The NERC added that for each class of customer on a feeder, an energy estimation cap is established to guide the Discos (distribution companies) and thus protect unmetered customers from being overcharged while awaiting appropriate metering.
The commission further noted that complaints bordering on metering were among the highest concerns recorded by Discos during the reviewed period.
The report further stated that during the second quarter of 2021, 11 Discos received 241,476 complaints from consumers, indicating 1.91 percent more complaints than those received in the first quarter of 2021.
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