Estimated billing: House of Reps seeks punishment for DisCos
The Nigerian House of Representatives in a resolution urged the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to order Distribution Companies (DisCos) to discontinue extortive estimated/arbitrary billing with immediate effect.
This comes the sequel to a unanimous adoption of a motion by Rep. Afuape Moruf (APC-Ogun) at plenary on Tuesday.
Moruf added that the Electricity Act, 2023, prescribed a comprehensive and institutional framework to guide the operation of a privatized, contract, and rule-based electricity market.
Rep Moruf noted it is within the ambit of which every participant in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) must operate, citing that the NERC is the NESI regulator, saddled with the responsibility to ensure adequate supply of electricity to consumers.
He added that it is expected to ensure that prices charged are fair to consumers, though sufficient to allow the finances of Disco’s activities, as well as enable them to make a reasonable profit for efficient operation,
Moruf said the DisCos had the statutory duties to provide for power transmission facilities and other ancillary services to ensure reliability and support the transmission of electricity from generation sites to consumers.
“Concerned that the distribution companies have demonstrated unfaithfulness toward the social contract with Nigerians, as enshrined and enhanced by the transitional effect of the Electric Power Reform Act, 2005 to the Electricity Act, 2023, having been inefficient in their services.
“They have condemnable attitudes toward expected investments, abdicating their statutory responsibilities for communities, private and other public entities, despite their humongous earnings, as extracted from the Q1 2023 report of the National Bureau of Statistics on a performance review of the 11 distribution companies,” he said.
Metering and Billing
Moruf also noted that the NERC had watched helplessly while communities, individuals, and corporate organizations assumed the responsibilities of providing electricity transmission facilities (meters, cables, and transformers) where they were either not available or repaired, where the same was faulty.
The house urged the NERC to put in place an effective metering plan, which assured consumers of fair billing, adding the NERC to invoke relevant provisions of the law and other extant agreements to penalize DisCos for exploiting and abusing the rights of consumers.
Speaker, Rep. Tajudeen Abbas mandated the Committee on Power when constituted, to meet with the NERC and the distribution companies (DisCos) to work and resolve limitations to provide excellent service delivery to Nigerians.
What you should know
Nairametrics reported earlier that The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) said that it is committed to protecting Nigerians from outrageous estimated billing.
The Commission said this in an awareness video released via its social media platform addressing the use of energy caps which were created to protect unmetered customers from outrageous estimated billing.
NERC said it has developed a methodology to determine monthly energy caps, that is the maximum amount of energy distribution companies (DisCos) can charge unmetered non-maximum demand (non-MD), customers, each month.
According to NERC, the caps are determined based on the consumption of neighbouring customers and DisCos are penalized for flouting them. The introduction of energy caps by the NERC aims to provide a fairer billing system for customers who have not yet been metered.