June 22, 2024

Q3 2021report: NERC rates DisCos low on meter distribution, says 57% customers still on estimated billing

…Commission announces relief for customers on estimated billings

Oredola Adeola

The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC)  has revealed that  4,753,027 (42.93%) registered energy customers  have been metered out of the 11,069,200 customers, as at September 2021,  compared to 4,404,013 (39.08%) metered as at June 2021 out of 11,058,939 registered customers.

NERC made this known in its Third Quarter (Q3) report for 2021, obtained by EnergyDay from the Commission’s website.

This figure, according to NERC, showed that 57.07 per cent of electricity consumers in the country were still unmetered, therefore remained on estimated billing as at September 2021.

The Commission revealed that as part of efforts to safeguard against overbilling of unmetered customers via  estimated billing, it  has set maximum limits to the amount of energy (in kWh) that may be estimated against an unmetered customer on a feeder, depending on the customer category and tariff band.

NERC in the 2021/Q3 report said only Ikeja, Benin, Enugu and Port Harcourt electricity Distribution Companies  had metered over 50 per cent of their customers as at the period.

The huge metering gap for end-use customers, according to NERC, remains a key challenge in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI).

It added that a  total of 288,431 meters were installed in 2021/Q3 as compared to the 315,717 meters installed in
2021/Q2.

The data showed that out of the 11,069,200 registered energy customers as at September 2021, only 4,753,027 (42.93 per cent) have been metered compared to 4,404,013 (39.08 per cent) metered as at June 2021 out of 11,058,939 registered
customers.

According to the document,  the metering status of the DisCos as at September 2021 is: Benin DisCo, 54.54 percent;  Abuja,  45.10 per cent; Eko,  43.24 per cent; Ikeja, 63.96 per cent and Enugu , 55.49 per cent.

Others are: Port Harcourt, 54.81 per cent; Ibadan, 37.64 per cent;  Jos,  29.12 per cent; Kaduna,  21.84 per cent; Kano, 27.64 per cent;  and Yola, 17.19 per cent.

It said as a safeguard against over billing of unmetered customers via estimated billing, the commission had set maximum limits to the amount of energy (in kWh) that may be estimated against an unmetered customer on a feeder.

The report said this depends on the customer category and tariff band with the maximum limits computed based on three months data of actual consumption records of metered customers according to customer category and tariff band.

The document also provided an update on the efforts of NERC to close the metering gap in the country through the Meter Asset Provider (MAP) scheme and the National Mass Metering Programme (NMMP).

It said, “The MAP initiative has since its inception metered a total of 591,223 customers.

“Similarly, the NMMP is an initiative of the Federal Government of Nigeria launched in 2021 to rapidly bridge the metering gap in the NESI.

“This is a policy intervention with support from the Central Bank of Nigeria for the provision of long-term (10-year tenure) single-digit interest loans to DisCos strictly for the provision of meters to customers.

“This policy provides that only local meter manufacturers or assemblers shall participate in the NMMP.

“Customers are metered on DisCo’s own account without paying for the meters by customers except through end-user tariffs.

“The NMMP has since its inception, metered a total number of 793,978 customers,” the report revealed.

The report further noted that the  roll-out of meters under both the National Mass Metering Program  (NMMP) funded through the Central Bank of Nigeria, and the  continuation of the Meter Asset Provider (MAP) scheme, was responsible for the overall improvement in collection efficiency during the quarter under review.

NERC said the total revenue collected by all DisCos in Third Quarter, 2021/Q3 was ₦193.53 billion out of the ₦273.00 billion billed to customers.

This represents a collection efficiency of 70.89% as compared to 68.89% recorded in 2021/Q2. The total revenue collected in 2021/Q3 rose by ₦8.24 billion (+4.45%) from ₦185.29 billion recorded in 2021/Q2.