Metering – NERC to Bar PHCN Discos From New Tariff Framework
The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) is set to “come down heavy” on any of the successor distribution companies (disco) of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) found guilty of contravening its order on the installation of metering facilities to eligible electricity consumers across the country.
NERC also threatened to initiate enforcement procedures against errant discos, adding that such action could see laggard Chief Executives Officers (CEOs) of any guilty disco removed from office.
To this end, NERC Thursday in Abuja issued a 14-day ultimatum to the 12 PHCN distribution companies, warning them to immediately commence metering of customers, who have paid for meters from January 2011, stressing that further violation of its order for them to submit a list of all the electricity consumers would attract severe penalties from it.
Chairman of NERC, Dr. Sam Amadi, said in a statement from the commission, that: “Any disco that does not comply with this new directive will be barred from collecting the new electricity tariff.”
The statement, which was signed by the commission’s Assistant General Manager, Media, Maryam Abubakar, stated that the order letter, which was dated July 19, conveyed the commission’s utter dismay that all discos had been in complete violation of its initial order as it relates to customers, who have made payments within the given time frame for meter installation but have not been identified for immediate metering.
“NERC views this conduct as totally unresponsive, and undermining the effort of the reform,” Amadi was quoted to have said in the statement.
NERC had earlier in the year issued an order to discos to key into its Credited Advance Payment for Metering Implementation (CAPMI), which was part of its response to address the lingering issue of non-issuance of meters by the distribution companies to customers, the discos were rather comfortable billing unmetered customers on the basis of the estimated billing methodology initiated by NERC.
But CAPMI allows for any interested and willing electricity customer to advance money to their electricity distribution company for meter installation and in return given electricity credit until the cost of the meter had been recovered by the customer.
Among other things, the CAPMI order by NERC stipulated that all distribution companies would have to forward to NERC, data of all customers, who paid for meters but had not been supplied with same.
Also, in 2011, a planned N2.9 billion metering intervention fund was made available to the companies with a view to closing the wide metering gap in Nigeria’s Electricity Supply Industry (NESI), but one year after, no appreciable progress was made by the discos in this regard, thus compelling NERC to demand performance reports from them.
Out of the 12 discos, about eight of them submitted reports that fell far short of the requirements of NERC while others did not submit any report of how they spent the money.
NERC in the statement further warned that failure to comply with the 14-day ultimatum would also compel it to institute enforcement procedures that may result in the removal of a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of an electricity distribution company.