Seven Discos Face NERC’s Sanction over Uncapped Estimated Billing

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•Agency gives electricity distributors 14 days to defend breach

Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja

Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) yesterday gave seven Distribution Companies (Discos) 14 days to explain why they should not be sanctioned for breaching the capping order on estimated billing of customers without meters.

NERC’s order 197/2020 placed limits on estimated bills that could be issued by Discos to unmetered electricity customers of residential (R2) and commercial (C1).

The regulatory commission listed the errant Discos as Benin, Enugu, Eko, Ikeja, Kano, Kaduna and Port Harcourt.
NERC, which gave the indication to punish the Discos on its twitter handle: @NERCNG, if after the 14-day deadline the Discos are unable to give any tenable reasons for their action, explained that the rules would be applied appropriately.

It said: “The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission has issued notices of intention to commence enforcement action against seven electricity distribution companies over their failure to comply with the Order 197/2020 on capping of unmetered R2 and C1 electricity customers.

“The order was to ensure consumers in the two categories, who do not have electricity meters installed for them by the Discos, were not disconnected from the electricity supply grid.

“The Discos are Benin, Enugu, Eko, Ikeja, Kano, Kaduna and Port Harcourt.”
NERC, in February, had issued Order No/NERC/197/2020 on capping of estimated billings in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI), placing a cap on estimated bills to unmetered customers.

It added that the order was to protect unmetered R2 (Residential-single and three-phase meters, who consume more than 50kWh per month) and C1 (Commercial-single and three-phase meters, small businesses) customers from arbitrary billing and expedite their metering process.

The commission added that all unmetered R2 and C1 customers shall not be invoiced for consumption of energy beyond the price capped in schedule, which was N1,872.00 for R2, where consumption is capped at 78-kilowatt hour per month at a tariff of N24 per kilowatt.

According to the order, any customer whose current estimated bill is below the capped price shall remain so without upward review until the installation of a meter by the power distributors, while any customer who rejects the installation of a meter was liable to disconnection.