Amidst sustained outrages on over billing, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has barred the 11 Distribution Companies (DisCos) from charging residential customers above an average of N1,800 monthly until they are metered.
In an Order 197 signed by the Chairman, Prof. James Momoh and the Commissioner, Legal, Licencing & Compliance, Dafe Akpeneye, NERC said the new order repeals the 2012 estimated billing regulation effective since last Thursday.
It also said electricity consumers have grown from five million in 2012 to over 10m by December 2019. But about 52 percent of them are not metered and are placed on estimated billing by the DisCos.
It said the Meter Assets Provider (MAP) was initiated to increase the metering of consumers within three years.
“The Estimated Billing Methodology Regulation is hereby repealed and shall cease to have effect as a basis for computing the consumption of unmetered customers in NESI,” it noted.
NERC said all unmetered residential and commercial customers shall not be invoiced for the consumption of energy if they are not metered by April.
Presently, it said R2 customers cannot be billed for more than the worth of 78 kilowatt hour (kwh) of energy monthly which is about N1,800. Residents that consume less than 50kwh will be billed at N4 per kwh and a maximum of N200 monthly.
All other customers on higher tariff classes must be metered by DisCos by 30 April 2020. “Failing which these customers are not liable to pay any estimated bill issued by the DisCo.”
Any customer that rejects the installation of a meter on their premises by a DisCo shall not be entitled to supply and must be disconnected, it noted.