Electricity distribution companies, meter manufacturers differ on ‘No meter no pay’ directive

The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission must have been quoted out of context on its directive to distribution companies to provide all Maximum Demand customers with meters, Kano Electricity Distribution Plc, has explained.

KEDCO’s Media and Public Relations Officer, Mohammed Kandi, while making the clarification, said there was nothing ambiguous about the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission’s statement, to the effect that all Maximum Demand customers not provided with meters must stop paying estimated bills presented by distribution companies.

Kandi said the report must have been misconstrued by numerous power users, following “sensational headlines.”

Media reports had indicated that the Meter Manufacturers Association of Nigeria had appealed to the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission to extend the directive of ‘No meter, no payment’ to all electricity consumers nationwide, whether private or corporate.

The News Agency of Nigeria quoted the association’s Executive Secretary, Mr. Muyideen Ibrahim, as having said this in Lagos on Tuesday.

Ibrahim reportedly made the call against the backdrop of NERC’s directive on June 11 that all Maximum Demand customers not provided with meters should stop paying estimated bills presented by distribution companies.

The maximum demand customers are commercial and industrial customers who consume high levels of electricity and contribute substantially to the revenues of distribution companies.

NAN quoted the EMMAN scribe, Ibrahim, as saying that effective metering of customers would eradicate estimated billing and also boost the revenue of the distribution companies.

Ibrahim said most distribution companies had resorted to estimated billing to generate more revenue at the expense of their customers.

He urged the NERC not to limit the directive to maximum demand customers but rather to all consumers, “because it’s really embarrassing for the DISCOs billing without meters.”

“Consumers had been complaining over the years that DISCOs should install meters in their premises for effectiveness and accountability, but they refused.

“There is no sense for consumers paying for services not rendered. There is need for NERC to checkmate the excess of the DISCOs.

“If every consumer was properly metered, it will reduce energy theft and waste. It will also increase the revenue of the DISCOs, if not compromised,” Ibrahim said to NAN.

However, KEDCO’s public relations officer, Kandi, has called on all KEDCO customers in Kano, Katsina and Jigawa states to disregard the “misleading information,” advising them to continue to pay their electricity bills, even if they have no substantive meters.

While recalling that KEDCO had metered all its maximum demand customers since November 2016 and long before the NERC’s initial deadline, he said the company was making concerted efforts to ensure that all its customers were metered.

“Those whose tariff classes do not fall in the category of the maximum demand customers are not affected by NERC’s directive and should defray (pay) their electricity bills as at when due,” Kandi said. Punch

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