The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has put the number of unmetered power customers across the country at about 6.3 million, despite the mass deployment of meters by the Federal Government.
In its just released Second Quarter 2021 report, the commission decried the huge metering gap in Nigeria, describing it as a key challenge in the power sector.
This came despite the Federal Government’s recent announcement that it had deployed about one million meters to power users nationwide.
In October this year, the government said it provided about one million free meters for electricity consumers in the past 10 months under its National Mass Metering Programme.
The NERC report however revealed at the time that the number of unmetered power users in Nigeria had increased by about two million, while the metering gap at the start of the NMMP in 2020 was about six million.
The Special Assistant to the President on Infrastructure, Ahmed Zakari, had disclosed this during a live television interview session monitored in Abuja.
But an analysis of the NERC’s latest second quarter 2021 report on Monday showed that only a little above 40 per cent of power users in Nigeria had been metered, meaning that the rest customers would be receiving estimated bills.
In its report, the regulator said, “The huge metering gap for end-use customers is still a key challenge in the industry. The records of the commission indicate that, of the 11,058,939 registered energy customers as at June 30, 2021, only 4,529,497 (40.95 per cent) have been metered.
“This implies that out of every 10 registered electricity customers, six are without meters; thus, they are on estimated billing.”
The commission, however, stated that it had put in place a mechanism to prevent outrageous estimated billing of customer.
“Using averages (of) three-month consumptions of metered customers on each feeder, maximum allowed energy consumption estimates were computed for each customer category and tariff band,” it stated.
The NERC report added, “Thus, for each class of customer on a feeder, an energy estimation cap is established to guide the Discos (distribution companies) and thus protect unmetered customers from being over charged while awaiting appropriate metering.”
The commission further noted that complaints bordering on metering were among the highest concerns recorded by Discos during the reviewed period.
It stated that during the second quarter of 2021, 11 Discos received 241,476 complaints from consumers, indicating 1.91 per cent more complaints than those received in the first quarter of 2021.