Govt gives marching orders to DisCos to supply meters to customers

By The Citizen

Power distribution companies, on Monday, got a marching order to supply metres to customers without further delay.

This is also as the minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, assured of the Federal Government's commitment towards steady power supply across the country.

This was stated in a communiqué issued at the end of the 3rd monthly sectoral meeting of operators in the electricity industry, held at Ugwuaji Transmission Station, Enugu.

The power stakeholders resolved to reinvigorate their efforts towards customer engagement, through the launching of customer care units, for adequate resolution of power sectors issues in line with the standard set up by Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC.

Fashola, who briefed newsmen shortly after the meeting, however, expressed optimism that the present challenge militating against supply of electricity in the country would be surmounted once Nigerians understood how the system operates. He said: 'Every time that we finish the meeting, one question that we ask ourselves is whether the meeting has added value to the business and helped to solve some of their problems, the result was a unanimous 'Yes'. 'In terms of specifics, the meeting addressed the problems of gas, financial stability, volatility of foreign exchange in sectors as to how that affects the ability of the power plants, the GenCos, the DisCos to implement their technical service agreement with their foreign partners. 'It addressed also the difficulty of pricing local gas consumption in dollars instead of naira.

'So, these are some of the problems that people don't see but they ultimately affect the value of service. 'We also addressed the problem of CAPMI metering system, we resolved that in the interest of consumers that people cannot take money from consumers without supplying what was paid for.

'We've reviewed the reports given to us by the DisCos. From the reports, many of them claimed that they've largely supplied the metres that people paid in advance for. 'I made it clear to them that a situation where people pay for metres and they are not supplied, for me undermines trust. We've given them matching orders to wind down all the outstanding credit metres programme that they've collected money from people and haven't supplied.

'Going forward, they must take responsibility for providing metres because that is what is in the new tariffs that they have. That's also the protection we've given to consumers in the new tariff. 'We've made it clear that if you dispute your bill based on assessment, then, you should pay your last undisputed bill, let the distribution company who claimed that you consumed more energy come and prove that you did so.

'They cannot do so unless they measure the energy and they cannot measure the energy unless they give you a meter. 'Any fair-minded person who reads through the new tariff order will see that it has favoured the consumers more and placed the burden on the DisCos to provide the metres.'

Also speaking, Managing Director, Enugu Electricity Distribution Company, Robert Dickerman, said the company was ready to distribute as much energy as it accesses from the transmission company, noting however that there was a severe shortage of generation at the moment.

On his part, acting CEO, NERC, Dr. Anthony Akah, said the sectoral meeting had been able to streamline most of the bottlenecks that had militated against the speedy improvement in power supply and also addressed some multi-agency issue. - National Mirror.