Discos miss February deadline for metering of electricity customers
• Generation stagnates at 4315MW
• Commission vows to check exploitation
Electricity Distribution Companies (Discos) have failed to meet the February 28, 2017 deadline set by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) for the provision of pre-paid meters to customers nationwide.
The development comes as electricity generation stagnated yesterday at 4,315.45 mega watts, a far cry from the national peak demand of 19,100 MW. It was learnt that the unenviable situation, majorly caused by gas constraints, had resulted in the power firms incurring almost a N869 million loss this month alone.
Following complaints of high rates by customers arising from estimated billing, the regulator had mandated the Discos to meter consumers across the federation, threatening defaulters with sanctions from March 1. It even went the extra mile of asking unmetered customers to lodge reports at any of its offices on the due date.
Reacting, the utility companies said they could not undertake the project under the current foreign exchange regime in the country, adding that the situation had made it practically impossible for them to source fund for the procurement of the facilities.
They contended that the deadline applied only to unmetered multinational firms. The Executive Director, Research and Advocacy, Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors, Sunday Oduntan, in an interview with The Guardian, said the regulators were aware of what the body was doing as regard to the maximum demand customers, being the multinational companies, adding that they had recorded appreciable progress.
He explained that the association had been able to provide over three million meters since privatisation. On metering of regular customers, Odutan noted: “There is no technology that will provide over three million to Nigerian customers over 12 months. The regulators know about this and that is why they set February 28 ultimatum for us to provide meters for the maximum demand customers.”
But NERC’s Acting Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Anthony Akah, assured that the commission would take measures to check exploitation through estimated billing.