Isaac Anumihe, Abuja
Despite the release of N497 billion by the Federal Government to close the metering gap in the country, Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has said that about 10,477,856 registered electricity customers have not been metered as at the end of the first quarter of 2020.
The commission, in its report, noted that only 4,231,940 (40.39 per cent) have been metered, indicating that about 59.61 per cent of the registered electricity customers are still on estimated billing which has contributed to customer apathy towards payment of electricity bills.
“In comparison to the fourth quarter of 2019, the number of registered and metered customers increased by 1.00 per cent and 8.00 per cent respectively. The increase in registered customer population was due to the on-going customer enumeration by Distribution Companies (DisCos) through which unregistered consumers of electricity were brought unto the DisCos’ billing platform.
“Similarly, the increase in metered customers was attributed to the roll-out of meters under the Meter Asset Provider (MAP) scheme. A review of the customer population data indicates that all the DisCos recorded progress in the metering of their electricity customers as at March 31, 2020, as compared with December 31, 2019.
“Abuja, Benin and Eko DisCos had metered more than 50 per cent of their registered electricity customers as at March 31, 2020. To ensure speedy metering of electricity customers in line with the target of closing the metering gap in Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) by December 31, 2021, the commission continued its monitoring of DisCos’ implementation of and compliance with the provisions of the MAP regulations to fast-track meter roll-out. The commission during the quarter approved more preferred MAPs for DisCos that had finalised their MAPs procurement process, increasing the total number of approved MAPs to 29 as at the end of the quarter.
“All the DisCos made progress in metering their electricity customers and three DisCos have metered more than 50 per cent of their registered electricity customers as at March 31, 2019” the regulator, said.
While appraising the individual performances of the DisCos, the commission said that Ikeja DisCo, though underperformed in reducing its losses relative to the fourth quarter of 2019, was the most technically and commercially efficient DisCo by recording the lowest level of Aggregate Technical, Commercial and Collection (ATC&C) losses of 34.55 per cent in the first quarter of 2020. The worst performing DisCo during the same quarter was Yola DisCos with ATC&C losses of 73.68 per cent as against the Multi Year Tariff Order (MYTO) target of 28 per cent. It is noteworthy that Ikeja has since 2018/Q4 continued to be the most technically and commercially efficient DisCo in the industry.