The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has directed Distribution Companies (DISCOs) and Meter Assets Providers (MAPs) to intensify effort in supplying meters to electricity consumers within their operational areas.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Dr Moses Arigu, the Commissioner, Consumer Affairs, NERC, made this known at a Discos and Customers Care Forum, on Monday in Ikeja.
Arigu said that the goal of NERC was to ensure that all electricity consumers in the country were metered to curb arbitrary estimated billings by the Discos, and also increase the revenue of the electricity value chain.
He also reiterated that electricity customers across the country could either pay fully for their meters or pay in instalments for a period of 10 years.
“It is the Discos that introduced MAPs to the regulatory authority; hence the effectiveness of the MAPs remains their responsibility.
“A customer does not have a contract with the MAPs, it is the responsibility of the Disco to ensure that all customers are metered.
“Payment for the meter is either through upfront payment or instalment payment of up to 10 years,” he said, stressing that it depended on the option chosen by the customer.
Arigu said that the forum was initiated to hear complaints from customers regarding the MAPs and how they could be addressed, toward fast-tracking the metering processes.
He, however, cautioned customers against engaging in unauthorised access to electricity, tampering and by-passing of meters, noting that such customers were liable to be punished.
The commissioner said that the punishment includes payment of administrative charges, reconnection charges and loss of revenue charges, which range from N50,000 to 115,000.
Two of the customers, Alhaji Bola Awosika, on the Ikeja Electric Distribution Company network, and Mr Uche Ejide, on the Eko Electric Distribution Company network, said they had paid for their meters for months but were still waiting for installation.
They urged NERC to compel the Discos and MAPs to expedite action on the process due to the outrageous monthly bills being given to consumers.
Also, Mr Adeola Samuel-Ilori, National Coordinator, Electricity Consumer Protection Forum, expressed concern about the E-billing introduced by the Discos, stressing that it violates the provisions of the Electric Power Sector Reform Act.
Recall that Mr Odion Omonfoman, the Managing Director, New Hamshire Capital Ltd, one of the MAPs for Ikeja DisCo, had also said that their clients could pay at once or in instalments.
“Customers can either pay outright or pay for the meter over a 10-year period via a monthly metering services charge for the meter and the associated metering services that would be provided by the MAP to the customers.
“For customers who pay outright for a meter, the DisCo owns the meter.
“For customers who pay in instalments for the meter, the MAP owns the meter until the customer fully pays for the meter.
“In this instance, the ownership of the meter reverts to the DisCo, however, the process is not automatic,” Omonfoman said.