Chineme Okafor in Abuja
The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has given the 11 electricity distribution companies (Discos) in Nigeria a four-month deadline to provide meters to all the maximum demand (MD) consumers under their networks or face sanctions.
The commission said it was acting in line with the agreement it reached with the Discos on the metering conditions of the MD consumers, adding that failure of the Discos to comply with the decisions reached at their related meetings would attract severe penalties from December 1, 2016.
According to NERC, maximum demand electricity customers are categorised as those connected on the 11Kv (high tension wire) electricity lines, mostly with their dedicated transformers.
They include heavy users of electricity like commercial business plazas; small scale industries and others.
A statement from the commission in Abuja directed “Discos to provide meters for all maximum demand meter customers within their networks not later than the last quarter of 2016 as agreed during the meeting it had with them on metering.”
The commission said its decision to sanction Discos that may default on its directive was sequel to the rising complaints from all categories of electricity customers over estimated bills they considered irreconcilable with the available power supply in the networks operated by the Discos.
It noted that while some of the maximum demand customers had indicated their willingness to key into its makeshift metering plan, the Credit Advance Payment for Metering Initiative (CAPMI), which permits willing electricity customer to pay for meter by advancing money to Discos who then install meters to them within 45 days, the Discos have reportedly remained reluctant to accept their requests.
“The Commission frowned at Discos refusal to meter their maximum demand customers under the CAPMI. Customer who subscribes to CAPMI is refunded his money with interest through discounted electricity bills over a period of time.
“The Commission in its directives observed that most of the Discos have refused to accept maximum demand customers under CAPMI scheme. Meanwhile, maximum demand customers are fewer in number than the other categories of customers and should have been easily dispense with by the Discos,” the statement added.
It also quoted its acting head, Dr. Anthony Akah who signed off the order as saying that “any customer who approaches your Disco for metering under CAPMI scheme must have their meters within CAPMI stipulated timeline of 45 days. The scheme remains as an option for customers but a compulsory requirement for Discos to implement when customer offers to contribute to metering through CAPMI.”
Akah also stated that Discos are expected to provide meter for all maximum demand meter customers on their networks not later than November 30, 2016 and that any of them who wants to subscribe to the CAPMI during the moratorium period should be allowed.
He thus reminded Discos that they have their performance agreement which include their metering plans and which they must obey.