Power distribution companies that fail to provide meters for all maximum demand customers on their networks not later than the last quarter of this year will be sanctioned, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission has said.
According to NERC, the resolve to start sanctioning the firms from the fourth quarter of this year is sequel to the rising complaints from all categories of electricity customers over estimated bills, which they consider to be irreconcilable with the available power supply on the networks.
The regulator stated that it came up with the directive after reaching an agreement with the Discos during a meeting it had with them on metering.
In the directive, which was signed by the Acting NERC Chairman, Dr. Anthony Akah, the commission stated, “Any customer who approaches your Disco for metering under the Credit Advance Payment for Metering Initiative must have his meter within the CAPMI stipulated timeline of 45 days.
“The scheme remains an option for customers but it is a compulsory requirement for the Discos to implement when the customer offers to contribute to metering through the CAPMI.”
Maximum demand electricity customers are those connected to the 11KV lines and are mostly with their dedicated transformers.
NERC stressed that it was wrong for the power firms to refuse to meter their maximum demand customers under the CAPMI.
The CAPMI is one of the commission’s initiatives, which permits willing electricity consumers to pay for meters by advancing money to the distribution firms, which must install the meters within 45 days.
Any customer who subscribes to the CAPMI gets a refund of his money with interest through discounted electricity bills over a period of time, according to the regulator’s stipulations.
But the commission, in its latest directive, observed that most of the Discos had refused to accept maximum demand customers under the CAPMI scheme.
It, however, stated that the maximum demand customers were fewer in number than the other categories of customers, and their cases should easily have been dispensed with by the Discos.
It further directed the power distribution companies to ensure that customers in the electricity supply industry were effectively managed.
NERC also directed the Discos to publicise the CAPMI and encourage their customers to subscribe to it so as to close the wide metering gap in the industry.
The regulator advised electricity consumers to explore its complaint and redress mechanism rather than resort to jungle justice in settling disputes with officials of electricity distribution companies.