*Number of registered electricity consumers rise by 9.32%
By Chineme Okafor in Abuja
A quarterly report on the operations of Nigeria’s electricity market for the second quarter of 2018 (Q-2) by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has disclosed that only four out of the 11 existing electricity distribution companies (Discos) in Nigeria complied with their existing metering agreements with the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) within the period under consideration.
The report, which was obtained from the webpage of the regulatory commission Tuesday in Abuja by THISDAY, showed that the only Discos that seem to have followed their metering plans as agreed with the BPE in 2013 during the power privatisation exercise and continued to drastically reduce the metering gaps within their networks were Abuja, Benin, Eko, and Port Harcourt which had their metering gaps respectively cut to 45.6 per cent; 36 per cent; 50 per cent; and 31.6 per cent.
The report, which also indicated that as at June 2018, the total number of registered electricity users in Nigeria increased by 9.32 per cent, noted that the four Discos now have 526,120 of 967,667; 548,261 of 856,292; 235,038 of 470,766; and 310,616 of 453,818 of their respective customers now metered.
It explained that the seven other Discos have continued to perform badly with their metering plans, adding that Kano, Kaduna and Yola Discos have been the worst with 80 per cent; 71.9 per cent and 78.8 per cent existing metering gaps respectively.
“The metering of end-use customers has continued to be a priority of the Commission and the status of metering as at the end of June 2018 is, of the total of 7,973,867, registered active electricity customers, only 3,547,129 (44.5 per cent) have been metered thus, 55.5 per cent of end-use customers are still on estimated billing,” said the report.
It added: “In comparison to the preceding quarter, the number of registered customers increased by 9.32 per cent, while the percentage of metered customers increased by 3.29 per cent, indicating a greater increase in the registered customer population relative to the meter roll-out.”
According to it, the increase in the number of registered customers was attributed to the ongoing enumeration exercise by Discos, during which illegal consumers of electricity are now captured on the billing platform of the Discos.
“Notwithstanding the growth in the number of the metered customers, the total meters deployed by Discos during the second quarter of 2018 are significantly lower than the expected quarterly metering deployment under the performance agreement for the privatisation transaction.
“Whereas the performance agreement with Bureau of Public Enterprises envisaged deployments of 1,640,411 per annum (i.e., quarterly average of 410,103), only 113,126 meters were installed by Discos during the quarter under review,” it said.
The report explained that: “It is evident that only four Discos (namely Abuja, Benin, Eko and Port Harcourt) had metered not less than 50 per cent of their registered customers as at the end of the second quarter of 2018. Metering of end user remains as a top priority to the Commission.
“To this end, the Commission continues to monitor the Discos to ensure total compliance with the Meter Asset Provider (MAP) regulations that was recently launched.”