Electricity: NERC mandates Discos to provide meters in 45 days

By The Citizen

Electricity distribution companies in Nigeria have been directed to meter customers who enroll in the Credit Advance Payment Metering Implementation scheme within 45 days.

The directive was given by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) on Tuesday in Abuja after it established that many Discos flouted the order when it was initially announced last year.

The commission, during a public consultation forum in Abuja, insisted that Discos must strictly adhere to the 45 days metering period for consumers who enroll for CAPMI.

A presentation by NERC that was displayed during the forum revealed that the 45 days installation period was mainly for the benefit of the power consumers.

'The 45 days of meter installation under the CAPMI scheme was one of the benefits a customer is supposed to enjoy and therefore should not be compromised,' the commission said.

CAPMI was inaugurated to provide a platform for willing customers to pay the cost of meters into a dedicated account jointly managed by the Disco and the meter vendor/installer.

Once payment has been effected, the customer will have his or her meter installed within 45 days by a NERC-accredited vendor/installer.

The Chairman, NERC, Dr. Sam Amadi, had regretted the situation in which customers who paid for meters were not supplied the equipment within the same month and even years after.

But the power firms argued that the modalities for implementing the CAPMI might not be achieved at all times due to certain factors.

While delivering a presentation at the public forum, the Executive Director, Regulatory and Stakeholders' Affairs, Abuja Electricity Distribution Company, Engr. Abimbola Odubiyi, said the 45 days specification for installing meters under CAPMI was being delayed by the installers and not the Disco.

Odubuyi, who represented the Managing Director, Neil Croucher, said AEDC has 737,535 electricity customers, out of which 404,990 were metered and 332,545 customers were still not metered.

According to AEDC, the CAPMI scheme had brought relief to electricity customers in its coverage area spanning Kogi, Niger, Nasarawa states and Abuja.

Odubiyi assured that the company was committed to refunding money to customers who had paid for meters under the scheme.

NERC last week declared that electricity distribution companies in Nigeria were enriching themselves by issuing estimated bills to power consumers across the country.

This followed a series of complaints by power consumers who decried the over 100 per cent abrupt rise in the bills for the month of October, despite poor supply of electricity.

Amadi had stated that Discos were being mischievous by not metering customers and extorting money from them.

Asked to explain why the recent bills issued to customers increased by over 100 per cent, the chairman said, 'We talk about estimated billing which has now become a synonym for corruption among the Discos. The truth is that some distribution companies are still indiscriminately inflating the bills of consumers and that is part of what we are tackling.' - Punch.