The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) says electricity distribution companies (DisCos) are to replace faulty and obsolete prepaid meters for their customers.
In a document issued, on Friday, and signed by Sanusi Garba, NERC chairman, the regulator said the order to DisCos takes effect from March 4.
The commission warned the DisCos against placing customers on estimated billing after the removal of a faulty or obsolete prepaid meter.
“The Commission notes that over 7 million customers are currently unmetered as indicated by customer enumeration data. It is also estimated that an additional 3 million meters are currently obsolete and due for replacement. The existence of a large population of unmetered customers contributed to threats affecting the financial viability of NESI as unmetered end-use customers expressed deep dissatisfaction with the estimated billing methodology.
“The Commission started receiving complaints from metered end-use customers in the fourth quarter of 2020, when all stakeholders were preparing for the implementation of NMMP, that they had been served meter replacement notices by DisCos.
“DisCos are responsible for the installation and replacement of meters for end-use customers but such replacements must be done in compliance with metering code and the protection of the rights of customers. DisCos may replace faulty/obsolete meters under the National Mass Metering Program but these replacements must be done in strict compliance with the Metering Code and other regulatory instruments of the Commission.
“New meters must be installed upon the removal of the faulty/obsolete meter and under no circumstances shall the customer be placed on estimated billing on account of the DisCo’s failure to install a replacement meter after the removal of the faulty/obsolete meter. The customer and DisCo representative shall jointly note the units on the meter being replaced and the customer must be credited with these units within 48 hours after the installation of the meter.”
In February, the regulator said estimated billing and metering issues made the top complaints received by DisCos from customers.