Sunday, May 22, 2022

Electricity: Group condemns NASS over ‘refusal’ to criminalise estimated billing

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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 Energy Consumer Rights and Responsibility Initiative, ECRRI, on Friday decried failure of the National Assembly to criminalise issuance of estimated bills by electricity Distribution Companies, DisCos, to customers.
ECRRI National President, Surai Fadairo, told the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos that the move would have accelerated bridging of the metering gap in the country.
Recall that the Federal House of Representatives had in 2018, sought to prohibit the issuance of such bills to consumers across the country.
The bill would mandate DisCos to provide prepaid meters within a specified period.
Mr Fadairo said : This bill would have put an end to what Nigerians are facing today in the hands of the DisCos but unfortunately it did not scale through.
“We believe that there is need to revive the bill, especially as we are moving toward another election year with the reconstitution of a new national assembly.
“There is need to stop the exploitation of Nigerians with outrageous bills and the best way to do that is to make it an offence to issue estimated bills to customers.”
He said the group was ready to work with the legislators to ensure that estimated billing system was prohibited in Nigeria which would compel the DisCos to intensify efforts to meter customers.
According to him, this has become imperative,  especially with the implementation of the Multi-Year Tariff Order (MYTO) for the DisCos as approved by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission.
“The MYTO has been approved for the DisCos until 2025 which will see periodic reviews in tariffs to customers based on certain parameters.
“We believe the only way customers can be best served is for them to get metered to prevent further exploitation,” he said.
Mr Fadairo noted that though the Meter Asset Provider, MAP, scheme was currently ongoing, the DisCos need to expedite action to ensure the prompt metering of all customers who had made payments for their prepaid meters.
NAN
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