Over 6m Nigerians unmetered as NERC revenues rise 50%
Despite the Federal Government’s directive on nationwide mass-metering for electricity consumers, over six million users in Nigeria are still on estimated billing.
The huge metering gap remains a key challenge in the industry, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), said in its’ first quarter (Q1) 2020 Operational Report on the country’s power sector.
The NERC hinted that of the over 10 million registered customers at the end of the Q1’2020, only four million have been metered, and this has contributed to customer apathy towards payment of electricity bills.
However, compared to the Q4’ 2019, the number of registered and metered customers increased by 1.0 percent and 8.0 per cent respectively.
The regulatory body attributed the increase to the on-going customer enumeration exercise by distribution companies (DisCos) through which unregistered electricity users were brought onto the billing platforms.
“Similarly, the increase in metered customers was attributed to the roll-out of meters under the Meter Asset Provider (MAP) scheme. A review of the cus.tomer population data indicates that all the DisCos recorded progress in the metering of their electricity customers as at 31 March 2020, as compared with 31 December 2019.”
However, NERC disclosed that Abuja, Benin, and Eko DisCos metered more than 50 per cent of their registered electricity customers as of Q1’2020.
Conversely, Yola, Kano, Kaduna, Jos, Ibadan, Port Harcourt, Enugu, and Ikeja DisCos are slow in meeting the metering needs of their registered customers.
The metering status of the DisCos as at March is: Benin, 54.23 per cent; Abuja, 52.73 per cent; Eko, 50.71 per cent; Ikeja, 45.47 per cent; and Enugu, 44.85 per cent.
Others are: Port Harcourt, 38.52 per cent; Ibadan, 37.11 per cent; Jos, 31.80 per cent; Kaduna, 23.60 per cent; Kano, 21.11 per cent; and Yola, 20.44 per cent.
The report said to ensure speedy metering of electricity customers in line with the target of closing the metering gap in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) by December 31, 2021, NERC will continue its monitoring of DisCos’ implementation of and compliance with the provisions of the MAP regulation to fast-track meter roll-out.
“The Commission during the quarter approved more preferred MAPs for DisCos that had finalised their MAPs procurement process, increasing the total number of approved MAPs to 29, as at the end of the quarter.”
Also during the quarter under review, the 11 DisCos received a total of 204,506 complaints from consumers, indicating 15.02 per cent more complaints than those received during the fourth quarter of 2019.
In total, the DisCos attended to 188,749 complaints representing an increase of 1.84 percentage points from the preceding quarter, with the Ibadan and Port Harcourt DisCos recording the lowest resolution rates based on the proportion of complaints not addressed in Q1’2020.
The report stated: “Also, the Commission continuously monitors the operation and efficacy of its Forum Offices, which were set up to redress on consumers’ complaints not adequately resolved to the customers’ satisfaction by the responsible DisCos.”
NERC, in its financial report, but the total revenue realised in Q1 at N3.25billion or 57.31 per cent above the Q4’2019, pushed mainly by 58.08 per cent increase in operating levy (i.e., market charges), and 22.31 per cent increase in other internally-generated revenue.
“The total expenditure of the Commission rose to N1.94billion from N1.74billion incurred in the preceding quarter. A comparison of the revenue and expenditure of the Commission in the quarter under review indicates lesser expenditure incurred when compared to actual cash receipts, showing a positive net cash flow of N1.32billion. However, the Commission still has existing liabilities of N0.23billion as at the end of the first quarter of 2020.”
The NERC further stated that in the quarter under review, N3.88 out of every N10 worth of energy sold by the DisCos remained uncollected from consumers, inferring that meters could have helped to limit the collection losses.