Estimated billing: NERC assures of bridging metering gap

As a way of addressing the challenges facing the electricity supply sector, particularly the issue of estimated billing, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, said it was focusing on closing the metering gap in the country.

NERC Chairman, Sanusi Garba, said the issue of metering cannot be overlooked as customers want to pay only for what they consume, and not based on estimated bills.

Garba spoke while explaining the key role of metering in addressing some of the challenges at the first Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry, NESI Stakeholders meeting for 2024.

He said, “Metering is an issue. Without metering, the issue of liquidity will not be resolved. Customers want to pay for what they consume. It is the single most prevalent complaint of consumers.

“We cannot overlook the value of metering in the value chain, and we will continue to focus on how to close the gap because customers do not want to pay based on estimated bills.”

Also, the Team Lead (Power), Office of the President, Mr. Eriye Onagoruwa, admitted that there was a huge metering gap that needed to be bridged across the country.

“The Presidential Metering Initiative, PMI, is looking at bulk procurement of smart meters, developing homegrown systems of MDMS, reduction of ATC&C losses to globally accepted standards. The PMI is also looking at stakeholder engagement to identify challenges facing the sector while carrying metering manufacturers along without compromising on cost, quality, and delivery.

“To close the metering gap, we require a combination of different types of meters, and meter asset providers have to provide a minimum number of 2,000 meters to participate.”

For his part, NERC General Manager, Finance and Management Services, Dr. Abdulkadir Shettima in his paper on liberalization of MAP meter prices, reminded DisCos not to increase the meter price for customers that have already paid.

“Customers should not pay for meters when you don’t have meters in stock. If you collect customers’ money, then you have to install meters for them at no additional cost regardless of when you install it.

“You (Discos) must meter customers at the price it was when they initially paid. You can’t charge them more.”