PUBLIC NOTICE ON VERIFICATION/VALIDATION OF MD METERING EXERCISE
The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) in line with its mandate of protecting the rights of customers has, on the 7th of June, 2017 issued a public notice on verification/validation of MD metering exercise. In the public notice, the Commission explained that this public notice is a sequel to its directive earlier issued to distribution companies (DISCOs) in June 2016 that all MD customers must be metered by 30 November 2016, which deadline was later extended to March 2017 after the Commission received several appeals from distribution companies for extension of time on compliance deadline. The new deadline having now passed, the Commission has issued a sanction on all defaulting DISCOs.
The public notice has directed that any MD customer that was not metered by 1 March 2017 should desist from paying any electricity bill presented by a distribution company on the basis of estimated billing methodology.
The Notice went further to state that no distribution company shall disconnect any MD customer that was not metered by 1 March 2017 on the basis of the customer’s refusal to pay bills issued on the basis of estimated billing methodology after the compliance deadline.
The Commission further charged all MD customers that have not been metered to report the defaulting (DISCOs) to the Commission directly.
However, the issuance of this Public Notice has been trailed by a popular misconception that the directive is in respect of every customer.
This is not so! The Notice was only in respect of Maximum Demand (MD) meters and Maximum Demand (MD) meters are explained by the Notice to be the “meters used by commercial and industrial customers who consume high levels of electricity and contribute substantially to the revenues of distribution companies. The consumption threshold for MD customers is 45KVA.”
Consequently, residential consumers are not included in the directive issued by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).
Even though this directive has not directly affected the general consumer, it is believed that it is a step in the right direction and we hope that NERC, in carrying out its function, will soon issue a directive in relation to the general public/ residential consumer so that the hardship occasioned by the unavailability of pre-paid meters as well as estimated billings will soon become a thing of the past.