The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission has said over seven million power users have not been metered while three million meters installed in the residents of power users are obsolete.
The Commission said this in its latest Order No. NERC/246/2021 on structured replacement of faulty and obsolete end-use customer meters stating that the large number of unmetered customers in the Nigeria Electricity Supply Industry was contributory to the financial challenges bedeviling the sector.
“The commission notes that over seven million customers are currently unmetered as indicated by customer enumeration data.
“It is also estimated that an additional three million meters are currently obsolete and due for replacement.”
“The existence of a large population of unmetered customers contributed to threats affecting the financial viability of NESI as unmetered end-use customers expressed deep dissatisfaction with the estimated billing methodology”, NERC said.
The commission added that the revenue assurance objectives of power distribution companies had also been challenged by being unable to properly account for the utilization of electricity by end-use customers.
Meters serve as a revenue assurance tool for NESI service providers and a resource management tool for end-use customers that receive services.
Electricity Metering in Nigeria
In its Second Quarter 2020 Report, the NERC said about 60 per cent of Nigeria’s electricity consumers lack prepaid meters and are currently being exploited through estimated billing.
The records of the Commission indicate that, of the 10,516,090 registered electricity customers as at 30 June 2020, only 4,234,759 (40.27%) have been metered.
The report added: “Thus, 59.73% of the registered electricity customers are still on estimated billing which has contributed to customer apathy towards payment for electricity bills. In comparison with the first quarter of 2020, the numbers of registered and metered customers increased slightly by 0.36% and 0.07% respectively.
“The increase in registered customers was, in addition to new connections, due largely to the on-going customer enumeration exercise by DisCos through which unregistered consumers of electricity were brought unto the DisCos’ billing platform. Similarly, the increase in metered customers was attributed to the roll-out of meters under the MAP scheme. Abuja, Benin and Eko DisCos had more than 50% of their registered electricity customers as at 30 June 2020.”