More than five years after the nation ’ s power sector was privatised , 55 per cent of electricity consumers are still being subjected to estimated billing.
The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission , in its latest quarterly report , said the provision of meters would improve revenue collection by the distribution companies.
It said , “ Metering gap for end -use customers still remains a key challenge facing the electricity industry . The records of the commission indicate that of the 8, 310, 408 registered electricity customers , only 3, 704, 302 ( about 45 per cent ) have been metered as at the end of the third quarter of 2018.
“ Thus , the majority of customers ( 55 per cent) are still on estimated billing, thus contributing to customer apathy towards payment for electricity. ”
According to the regulator , the population of registered customers increased by 4. 2 per cent in the third quarter , compared to the second quarter, while the metered customers increased by a relatively higher proportion of 4. 4 per cent.
It said , “ The observed increase in registered customers was a consequence of the ongoing enumeration exercise by Discos , which has helped Discos to properly register individuals who had previously consumed electricity through illegal connection to the networks . ”
NERC said a review of the customer population data indicated that only Abuja , Benin and Port Harcourt Discos had metered more than 50 per cent of their customers as of the end of September 2018.
“ The commission, therefore , has intensified its monitoring of Discos ’ implementation of and compliance to the provisions of the Meter Asset Providers regulations in order to fast – track meter roll -out and close the metering gap in Nigerian electricity supply industry within three years , ” it added.
According to the report , a major initiative towards improving revenue collection in the electricity industry is the provision of meters to all registered end -use consumers of electricity.
It said , “ To this end , the commission continues to monitor Discos ’ process of procuring MAP in compliance with the provisions of the MAP Regulations.
The MAP Regulations issued by NERC in March 2018 aims at fast- tracking the roll – out of meters through the engagement of third- party investors for the financing , procurement , supply , installation and maintenance of electricity meters.