Estimated billing: 70% of Enugu Disco's customers un-metered –NERC

By ORIH CHIBUIKE, The Nigerian Voice, Abuja

The acting Chairman and Chief Executive of the Nigerian Electricity Commission, Dr Anthony Akah, mni, has taken the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC) to task over rising complaints on estimated billing, which is a result of wide metering gap in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI).

Speaking at the inauguration of the Abakaliki Forum Office in Ebonyi State, Akah said that the Commission is closely monitoring EEDC and other electricity distribution companies to ensure that the metering gap in NESI, estimated at about fifty per cent should be eliminated within the shortest possible time.

According to him, available statistics with the Commission indicates EEDC has customer 732,423 customer size with 70 per cent or 512 335 of them unmetered, a development he described as unacceptable for quality service delivery.

He decried the fact that EEDC has not commenced its meter roll plan as contained in the performance agreement signed with the Federal Government when the new owner took over the electricity distribution company about two years ago.

EEDC has part of its performance agreement undertook to ensure average of 100,000 meters is installed within its network on an annual basis over the next 5 years. That agreement has since been reviewed to ensure that the present metering gap of 512,335 should be closed within the next 3 years.

‘’It is sad that Enugu Disco has not commenced the implementation of its meter roll-out, in accordance with the performance agreement signed with the government under the privatisation programme.’

‘’ The Commission has instituted measures to accelerate metering through very close monitoring of distribution companies meter roll-out plan. The present metering gap in Enugu Disco alone is about 512,335 when compared to its total customer size of 732,423. It is expected that the present metering gap would be closed within the next 3 years,’’ Akah said.

He disclosed that the meter roll-out being monitored by the Commission is a combination of the Credited Advance Payment for Metering Implementation (CAPMI), an initiation of the Commission, to fast-track meter deployment and the metering scheme financed by the Disco in line with the performance agreement signed with the Federal Government.

Dr Akah further urged electricity customers to shun acts of violence, vandalism of electrical infrastructure and stealing of electricity; advising them to channel all such electricity complaints that were not satisfactorily treated at the Disco level to the NERC Forum office for resolution.

Ebonyi State Governor David Umahi represented by the Commissioner of Power, Chief Emmanuel Uguro, pointed out that the state government at inception picked power as one of the major projects and that it was still committed to this.

According to him, the state government has been interfacing with the people and security agencies on electricity matters, and has succeeded in forming a united force against vandalism of electrical equipment.

On the occasion, the Managing Director, Enugu Disco, Mr. Robert Dickerman, appealed for co-operation from its customers, and urged them not to see the company as an enemy, but partners in progress.

‘’The role of distribution company is to serve our customers by the goal that has been established, our obligations are real and sacred, we recognised that,’’ he said.

All NERC’s forum offices are localised both in terms of constituent members and location. The members are representatives of all the customer classes, industrial, commercial and residential, as well as professional bodies drawn from states within disco’s franchise area. Forum memberships include institutional agencies such as the Nigerian Society of Engineers; Consumer Protection Council; Manufacturers Association of Nigeria.

The Forum handles appeals of customer complaints from the customer care units of electricity distribution companies.