Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Electricity: Despite huge investment on meter production, 57 % of Nigerians still on estimated billing — Report

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Ibrahim Ramalan
Ibrahim Ramalan
Ibrahim Ramalan is a graduate of Mass Communications from the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria. With nearly a decade-long, active journalism practice, Mr Ramalan has been able to rise from a cub reporter to the exalted position of an editor; first as Arts Editor with the Blueprint Newspapers before resigning in 2019; second and presently as an Associate Editor of the Daily Nigerian online newspaper. He can be reached via [email protected], or www.facebook.com/ibrahim.ramalana, or @McRamalan on Twitter.
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The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, says 57.07 per cent of electricity consumers in the country were still on estimated billing as at September 2021.

DAILY NIGERIAN reports that the metering gap is still in place despite the Federal Government’s investments in the procurement of prepaid meters for free distribution to electricity consumers under phase 1 of the National Mass Metering Programme, NMMP.

In 2021, about one million prepaid meters were distributed freely to Nigerian electricity consumers.

But the NERC’s 2021 Third Quarter Report, published on its website, said the huge metering gap for end-use customers remains a key challenge in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry, NESI.

According to the document, only Ikeja, Benin, Enugu and Port Harcourt electricity Distribution Companies had metered over 50 per cent of their customers as at the period.

It added that a total of 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 at September 2021, only 4,753,027 (42.93 per cent) have been metered compared to 4,404,013 (39.08 per cent) metered as at June 2021 out of 11,058,939 registered customers.

According to the document, the metering status of the DisCos as at 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 had set maximum limits to the amount of energy (in kWh) that may be estimated against an unmetered customer on a feeder.

The report said this depends 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 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.

“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.

“Customers are metered on DisCo’s 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.”

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