The electricity Distribution companies (Discos) added only 4.5% (about 151,724 meters), out of about 3.356million unmetered customers, since they took over operations in 2013, a report by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has shown.
NERC presented the report, yesterday in Abuja, when it met with the Discos to evaluate their performance on the Credited Advance Payment for Metering Initiative (CAPMI).
Statistics showed that of the 403,255 meters procured since 2013, representing 12% of the population, customers financed the installation of 7.5% (251,531 meters) which is about 3% (100,000) higher than what the Discos have done as at March 2016.
At the time of taking over in November 2013, the Discos had a pact with the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) and NERC on bridging the three million metering gap, but they have failed to reach 200,000 after two years.
Data submitted by the 11 Discos to NERC indicated that there were 6.159million customers’ accounts as at December 2015 with 3.206miilon metered. The other 2.953million customers have remained unmetered, raising concerns on the estimated billing system.
While Northern Discos, including Abuja, Jos, Kaduna, Kano and Yola claimed to have 1.973million customer base, Port Harcourt, Benin and Enugu Discos have 1,863,708 customers. In the West, Eko, Ikeja and Ibadan Discos have 2,322,376 customer accounts.
The acting chairman of NERC, Dr. Anthony Akah, revealed plans to wind up the CAPMI, urging the Discos to key into the programme.
Akah warned the operators, saying: “It is criminal for Discos who have not metered consumers under CAPMI since November 2013. Do it now before we conclude our investigations.” .
Other concerns, the NERC boss raised included the wrong migration of customers to higher classes of tariff, and complaints of over 200% rise in the estimated bills of some customers to the commission.
Responding, Jos Disco contested its metering status, saying it has done more than the figure reported. Benin Disco said it used cluster billing to charge people in a place for the energy delivered to the area, whether household entities consume that or not.
NERC also chided Ikeja and Kano Discos’s report, indicating that none of its 1.057million customers was willing to pay for meters. However, Kano Disco said despite its efforts to create awareness, the customers were unwilling to embrace CAPMI.
Abuja and Jos Discos assured of rolling out meters from May. While Jos Disco said it was doing 180,000 meters and Abuja was planning 100,000 meters.