The federal government has ordered electricity distribution companies (DisCos) to adopt electronic platforms for the payment of energy bills across the country.
The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) said the move is to reduce the aggregate technical, commercial and collection losses the DisCos are battling with.
The commission asked the DisCos to leverage on available banking channels approved by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to ensure prudence in the utilisation of market funds.
While the power firms have till January 31 to migrate industrial and commercial customers to their cashless electronic platforms, they have till March 31 to move residential customers to pay their bills only on the platforms.
“The Federal Government issued a policy directive that requires the mandatory transition of certain classes of end-use customers of DisCos from direct cash settlement of bills to cashless settlement platforms in order to reduce collection leakages/losses and improve overall revenue assurance in NESI,” NERC said.
“The Commission notes that this policy directive complies with EPSRA and the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as furthers the objective of improving transparency in NESI by introducing greater clarity on collections from end-use customers and prudence in the utilization of market funds.
“Without prejudice to the provisions of section 10 of the Cash Collection Regulation”; all DisCos shall transit to cashless settlement platforms for the billing/collection of R3 class of residential customers by 31 March 2020.
“Provide customers with appropriate bank account details and other approved channels for receiving/processing payments such as mobile money, electronic wallets etc.
“All DisCos shall ensure full accountability of energy flow with the installation of appropriate metering infrastructure that is integrated with the CMS of all industrial, commercial and R3 class of residential customers by 31 December 2020.”
The commission also asked the DisCos to publish details of customer service/contact centers to promptly address electronic payment enquiries along with stipulated timelines for addressing customer complaints.