NERC Moves against Abuse of Estimated Electricity Bills

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Chineme Okafor in Abuja
The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has disclosed it will stop the widespread abuse of its estimated electricity billing methodology by the 11 electricity distribution companies (Discos) in the country, and in this regard invited stakeholders in the power industry to tell it the best out of two options it has proposed to adopt to cap estimation of electricity bills by the Discos. NERC in a consultation paper it sent out on this, explained the issue of estimated billing has continued to constitute a major source of complaints by customers in all the Discos.

It noted this has also led to calls by stakeholders such as the National Assembly and other customer groups for it to find a more equitable way of ensuring that customers are billed fairly by the Discos. NERC said its mandate has been to protect not only the customers but also the operators, hence its commitment to ensure that the responsibility of metering in line with Section (1) of the Regulation on Connection and Disconnection procedures, is fulfilled. It said the purpose of the consultation paper was to solicit comments from stakeholders on the setting aside of the existing estimated billing methodology, as well as explore various options provided to cap

the monthly estimated bills issued to customers in line with the previous charges applicable to the different tariff classes. NERC therefore offered two options from which stakeholders could pick from. It explained that the first takes into consideration actual energy delivered to metered customers as the basis for deriving the caps of the various categories of unmetered customers. According to the NERC, in arriving at the capped figure, the energy consumed by the metered customers will be subtracted from the total energy delivered and which will then form the basis for determining the Caps Under another option, NERC noted that the average energy as provided for in the Multi-Year-Tariff-Order (MYTO)

2015 for each Disco would form the basis for computing the maximum cap for each category of customers to be affected. It added that the variables to be considered under this option would include tariff class; customer numbers under each tariff class; proportion of number of customers per tariff class to the total number of customers; annual consumption in gigawatts; and annual consumption in kilowatts. “These variables would be used to derive the average monthly individual consumption in Kwh per tariff class which will represent the cap. This option is considered simple as energy delivered and customer numbers are authenticated in the MYTO 2015 model,” it stated.