By Chris Ochayi
It is yet unclear how it will do it, but the Federal Government has again threatened to sanction forthwith any defaulting company, as it expressed dissatisfaction over the level of meter deployment by electricity distribution companies, DISCOs.
Similar warnings had been issued in the past but could not bring about much change, as majority of electricity consumers remain at the mercy of estimated billing, and no DISCO has been sanctioned for any misdemeanour.
This time around, the government claimed it is not happy with this ugly trend in spite of the Credited Advancement Payment Metering Initiatives, CAPMI, and demanded that DISCOs used this moratorium period to improve on their meter deployment.
It however, pledged to intervene in providing supplementary metering to electricity consumers to improve electricity supply services in Nigeria.
The Chairman of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, Dr. Sam Amadi, who disclosed this last week in Abuja, during a press briefing on the implementation of the new tariff, said NERC froze the new payment for 80 percent consumers who are domestic consumers.
Amadi, who responded to the issues of adequate consumer metering said with the completion of the tariff review, the 11 Discos are under pressure to consider metering as a matter of urgency. He added that the federal government will also intervene by providing a supplementary metering plan within six months.
He said, “It is really about metering more consumers and government is looking forward to having supplementary support with the framework for a consumer-based supplementary metering; there will be much more clarity from government on that soon…”
Amadi explained that the approved revised Multi Year Tariff Order (MYTO 2.1) came into effect on January 1, adding that a major highlight is “is a six-month freeze on the increase for residential consumers, who constitute about 80 percent of the electricity consumers (known in the industry as R2 customer class) in the country.”
Stating the reason for the freeze, he said, “Let me state upfront, and for the sake of clarity that NERC has not increased tariff for residential consumers for now. While the increase will apply to other classes of consumers, it will not affect residential consumers until after June 2015.”
He said the freeze was designed primarily to protect and to promote the interests of the consumers as well as stimulate operators to serve customers better.
It is anticipated that the privatised electricity Discos, through the incentive, will improve power supply and be more responsive to the needs and complaints of their customers, especially on metering.
While stating that the six months holiday was a way of granting rest to majority consumers while the system improved, he said “the Discos are not happy about the phased approach adopted by NERC as they cannot recoup their growing and unanticipated costs that may affect them in the short run.
“Our expectation is that by the time the full MYTO 2.1 tariff begins to apply to residential consumers, both supply and service delivery would have improved significantly,” he said.