DisCos using estimated billing for 57% electricity consumers: NERC

The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) says 57.07 per cent of electricity consumers in the country were on estimated billing as of September 2021.

NERC disclosed this in its Third Quarter Report 2021 obtained on Tuesday from its website.

The document showed that only Ikeja, Benin, Enugu and Port Harcourt electricity distribution companies had metered over 50 per cent of their customers as of the period.

The huge metering gap for end-use customers, according to NERC, remains a key challenge in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI).

It added that 288,431 meters were installed in 2021/Q3 as compared to the 315,717 meters installed in 2021/Q2.

The data showed that out of the 11,069,200 registered energy customers as of September 2021, only 4,753,027 (42.93 per cent) were metered compared to 4,404,013 (39.08 per cent) metered as of June 2021 out of 11,058,939 registered customers.

According to the document, the metering status of the DisCos as of September 2021 is: Benin DisCo, 54.54 per cent;  Abuja, 45.10 per cent; Eko, 43.24 per cent; Ikeja, 63.96 per cent and Enugu, 55.49 per cent. Others are: Port Harcourt, 54.81 per cent; Ibadan, 37.64 per cent;  Jos,  29.12 per cent; Kaduna,  21.84 per cent; Kano, 27.64 per cent; and Yola, 17.19 per cent.

It said as a safeguard against over-billing of unmetered customers via estimated billing, the commission set maximum limits to the amount of energy (in kWh) that may be estimated against an unmetered customer on a feeder.

The report said that depended on the customer category and tariff band with the maximum limits computed based on three months’ data of actual consumption records of metered customers according to customer category and tariff band.

The document also provided an update on the efforts of NERC to close the metering gap in the country through the Meter Asset Provider (MAP) scheme and the National Mass Metering Programme (NMMP).

It said: “The MAP initiative has since its inception metered a total of 591,223 customers. Similarly, the NMMP is an initiative of the Federal Government of Nigeria launched in 2021 to rapidly bridge the metering gap in the NESI,” it stated.

The report added, “This is a policy intervention with support from the Central Bank of Nigeria for the provision of long-term (10-year tenure) single-digit interest loans to DisCos strictly for the provision of meters to customers. This policy provides that only local meter manufacturers or assemblers shall participate in the NMMP.”

According to NERC, customers are metered on DisCos’ own account without paying for the meters by customers except through end-user tariffs.

“The NMMP has since its inception metered a total number of 793,978 customers,” the report said.