By Sola Akingboye
The recent verification and validation of the Maximum Demand (MD) electricity customers metering exercise by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has classified electricity consumers within the threshold of 45kVA consumption and above as those under the MD category and should be exempted from estimated billing system. It should be recalled that the NERC had last year issued a directive that no MD customer should be billed based on estimation.
According to a press statement from the regulatory agency, the present directive is but a fellow-up to an earlier directive by the Commission to the 11 Distribution Companies (DisCos) to completely meter all their MD customers on or before 31st November, 2016. However, the DISCOS had in a swift reaction, sought and were granted a grace period till 1st of March, 2017 to kick off the implementation.
The Commission had directed that “no electricity distribution company shall disconnect any Maximum Demand electricity customer that was not metered by March 1, 2017 on the basis of the customer’s refusal to pay a bill issued after the compliance deadline on the basis of estimated billing methodology.”
The Commission also advised MD electricity customers whose billing were not captured through the metering system to promptly report any attempt to disconnect it on the basis of refusal to pay estimated bill issued after March 1, 2017 to the Commission.
Disclosing that the rationale behind the directive was for the Commission to ensure that all categories of customers are metered stated that no MD customer should be issued with estimated bills anymore, to avoid double billing a common and recurrent complaint by electricity consumers.
And for the non-MD unmetered customers, the DISCOS have also been warned to adhere strictly to the Commission’s approved estimation methodology in accordance with the Estimated Billing Methodology Regulation.“Electricity customers are also advised to avail themselves of the Commission’s redress mechanism in instances of contested bills before seeking legal advice, the statement read.