The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has issued a directive to all the Electricity Distribution Companies, DisCos, to refrain from connecting new customers who have not been allocated meters.
According to the information which was disclosed in a statement via its X, formally Twitter, handle, the commission cited the 2023 Electricity Act which “mandates NERC to ensure that DisCos provide quality service to customers.”
The commission also clearly emphasised that “All new electricity connections must be done strictly based on metering before connection.”.
NERC further reiterated the need for customers to ‘Know Their Rights’ as an electricity consumer as expressly noted on the commission’s KYC page which states that “All new electricity connections must be done strictly based on metering before connection. That is, no new customer should be connected by a DisCo without a meter first being installed at the premises.”
The commission has for some time, battled numerous complaints about estimated billing as well as default in supplying meters by DisCos from customers.
According to NERC’s customer enumeration data, as of March 2023, seven million customers were unmetered. The data also showed that about three million meters were outdated and due for replacement. NERC’s first quarter 2023 report showed that there were 12.3 million registered customers, and just 43.3% (5.3 million) of them were metered.
The remaining 56.69% of customers, about 7 million, are unmetered and are served via estimated billing which is a major issue for Commission. In order to resolve the crisis surrounding the meter issues, NERC came up with an idea – Credited Advance Payment for Metering Implementation – CAPMI.
CAPMI was created to solve the slow pace of customer metering by the DisCos, as well as resolve the complaints received from customers dissatisfied with the current estimated billing practices.
With CAPMI, customers were allowed to pay the cost of the meter into a dedicated account jointly managed by the DisCos and the meter Vendors/Installers. The allocated meters would be installed within 45 days by a NERC accredited Vendor/Installer once payment was confirmed.