FG Urges Discos to Address Customer Concerns on Estimated Billing


The Federal Government has emphasized the need for power distribution companies (Discos) to prioritize providing meters to electricity consumers to address dissatisfaction with estimated billing practices. The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) conveyed this message during a meeting with Discos’ investors/owners in Lagos State.

NERC highlighted consumers’ preference for paying based on actual consumption rather than estimated bills. The commission reiterated that it is the responsibility of Discos to ensure that consumers are provided with meters to accurately measure their electricity usage. The lack of adequate metering has been a persistent issue in the power sector, leading to widespread dissatisfaction among consumers.

The meeting came in the wake of reports revealing that overbilling of approximately 7.1 million unmetered electricity consumers occurred between January and September 2023. The excessive billing amounted to over N105 billion, prompting concerns about the fairness and transparency of billing practices.

Sanusi Garba, Chairman of NERC, underscored the pivotal role of metering in resolving liquidity challenges within the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI). He emphasized that customers’ insistence on paying for actual consumption highlights the urgency of addressing metering deficiencies across the country.

Eriye Onagoruwa, Team Lead (Power) at the Office of the Special Adviser on Energy to the President, highlighted the significant metering gap in the power sector. She outlined the objectives of the Presidential Metering Initiative, which aims to address metering challenges through bulk procurement of smart meters and the reduction of Aggregate Technical, Commercial, and Collection (ATC&C) losses.

During the meeting, Nathan Rogers, Commissioner for Finance and Management Services at NERC, clarified customers’ rights regarding meter payments. He emphasized that customers should not be required to pay for meters when Discos do not have meters in stock. Additionally, he emphasized that Discos cannot increase meter prices for customers who have already made payments.

Dafe Akpeneye, Commissioner for Legal, Licensing, and Compliance at NERC, emphasized the importance of communication between Discos and customers awaiting meter installations. He stressed the need for Discos to provide timely updates and installation schedules to customers who have paid for meters.

In response to non-compliance with energy caps for unmetered customers, NERC announced regulatory sanctions against Discos. The commission disclosed plans to deduct a sum of N10,505,286,072 from the annual allowed revenues of the 11 Discos during the next tariff review.

Overall, the meeting underscored the importance of metering in addressing consumer grievances and ensuring transparency and accountability in electricity billing practices across Nigeria.