April 15, 2024

Over 5.9m electricity customers OVER-BILLED by DisCos via estimation, with only 47% metered in Q1 2023 -Report

Source NBS - 1

Oredola Adeola

 

Almost 53 percent of Nigeria’s 11.27 million electricity customers – representing about 5.96 million customers – are being overcharged by all the 11 electricity distribution companies (DisCos) without proper regulation to ensure accurate billings, leaving only 47% of customers, or 5.31 million, being metered during the first quarter of 2023.

 

This was based on the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS) recently released on the proportion of metered to total customers in the period under review.

 

The review conducted suggests that there is a need for President Tinubu’s government to take action to ensure that all customers are accurately metered and billed for their electricity consumption.  This includes enforcing the electricity regulatory authorities and Electricity Distribution Companies to address this issue. Urgent action is required to address this problem.

 

The NBS report shows that Ikeja Electric leads with 76% of its customers having prepared meters, followed by Port Harcourt with 63%, and Eko Electricity Distribution Company with 61%. Abuja had 59%, Benin had 51%, Enugu had 44%, Ibadan had 42%, Jos had 32%, Kano had 30%, Kaduna had 24%, and Yola was the least performing with only 21% of metered customers in the period under review.

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EnergyDay however gathered that the number of metered customers in Nigeria in Q1 2023 which is 5.31 million, increased on a year-on-year basis, thereby growing by 5.71% from the figure reported in Q1 2022 at 4.79 million

 

Similarly, the report said that estimated customers stood at 5.96 million in Q1 2023, on a year-on-year basis, increased by 1.99 per cent, from 5.84 million recorded in Q1 2022.

 

Furthermore, the report disclosed that the total customer numbers in Q1 2023 stood at 11.27 million from 11.06 million in Q4 2022, showing an increase.

 

In addition, the DisCos generated a total of N247.33 billion in the first three months of 2023, which is the highest in 15 months.

 

EXPERTS’ SUGGESTIONS

Electricity industry experts and customers’ advocacy groups, in a recent chat with EnergyDay suggested that the Bola Tinubu’s administration must review the Meter Asset Providers (MAPs) regulations and National Mass Metering Programme, which according to them are both critical to ensure that electricity consumers are metered and billed accurately.

 

Mr. Emeke Ojoko, Executive Coordinator of NEPA Wahala, an electricity consumers’ rights group, informed EnergyDay that the only lifeline available for Nigeria in the face of the tariff increase is the completion of the remaining two phases of the National metering programme initiated by the former President Mohammadu Buhari’s administration.

 

He noted that the phase 0 was completed with barely 1 million meters installed so far, while the balance of over 5million is yet to be implemented under the remaining phases.

Ayodele Oni, partner, Bloomfield Law Practice, on his part, urged President Tinubu’s government to inaugurate a national mass metering implementation committee that would work closely with the Discos to prevent misappropriation of meters with a commitment to complete the phase 1 and 2 of the NMMP.
Oni also charged President Tinubu to liberalize meter procurement by creating bands of various customers- i.e the customers who can pay for the meters upfront and those who cannot.
Adetayo Adegbemle, Convener and Executive Director, PowerUp Nigeria, charged President Tinubu’s administration to review the NMMP and complete the implementation of phase 1 and 2 of the project.