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NERC To Sanction Defaulting Power Firms

The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has said it will sanction any Disco that does not live up to its performance agreements. This is following the statement by electricity distribution companies that they can not provide 1 million prepaid meters to customers yearly.

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The Acting Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, Mr. Anthony Akah, in a telephone interview, told our correspondent that the regulator may have to introduce more interventions to protect the consumers from undue estimated billing.

He said, “NERC has directed the Discos to meet up their metering obligations in line with the performance agreements. And therefore, we are going to look into the number of meters they are supposed to do and hold them strictly accountable. There is no going back on that.”

“If they fail to meter consumers in line with those clear agreements that were duly signed, then we will have to sanction them and may have to come out with other regulatory intervention to protect the consumers from undue estimated billing.”

The President, Association of Small Business Owners of Nigeria, Mr. Femi Egbesola, said, “The fact is that we have had series of complaints about lack of prepaid meters. Quite a number of people have paid for the past four to six months, and they have not been able to get the meters.

“For many of those who do not have the meter, the bill has always been arbitrary. In fact, we are contemplating having a lawsuit against one of the Discos where many of our members have their factories because they placed them on the category of big companies.”

Egbesola said the government should revoke the licences of Discos that failed to fulfil their performance agreements in the area of metering.

He said, “The crazy bill has been very challenging to businesses. We have some that are receiving crazy bills of as much as N400,000 per month, even when there is no ‘light’. It is a very serious issue that is affecting the populace.”

NERC, while evaluating the performance of the Discos on the Credited Advance Payment for Metering Initiative in a meeting on Wednesday, said the firms had performed poorly in terms of metering their customers.

As of March 2016, the Discos had collectively metered just 403,255 customers since they took over, with about three million currently without prepaid meters.

According to NERC, data submitted by the Discos indicated that there were about 6.2 million customer accounts as of December 2015, while about 3.21 million electricity users were metered.

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