NIGERIAN electricity consumers are yet to explore full options from the ‘capping order’ by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), with a poll showing that 57 per cent of consumers are still being overcharged.
The Electricity Poll was conducted in May by NOI, a polling research and analytic agency.
The report disclosed that majority of Nigerians polled (94 per cent) stated they were connected to the national grid.
According to the report, of the proportion (43 per cent) of respondents not metered, 62 per cent claimed they pay for electricity bills by distribution companies’ estimation or direct billing method.
The report further said that monthly electricity consumption expenditure showed 44 per cent of respondents spend between N1,000 and N5,000 per month, while 24 per cent spend between N6,000 and N10,000 per month.
The report revealed that respondents who do not have electricity meters (57 per cent) accounted for the proportion that pay the highest amount due to estimated billing.
While most respondents (69 per cent) reported that the amount they spend on electricity bills was not commensurate with consumption, it was found out Nigerians were willing to pay more to get 24 hours of electricity.
The poll has also shown that ownership of pre-paid meters is low as only 37 per cent of electricity customers in Nigeria have access to it.
The ICIR had reported how electricity distribution companies were exploiting unmetered power consumers through estimated billing.
The NERC Assistant General Manager, Market Analysis, Emeka Onyegbule, reacting to the development advised electricity consumers to explore options with the NERC Consumer Forum Office in their respective states to seek redress on overbilling.
“The NERC Consumer Forum Office should provide succour to consumers in the respective areas of concerns in the electricity supply industry. It is in every state and consumers should explore the options there,” Onyegbule said.
The ICIR recalls that effective from February 20, 2020, the NERC issued order No/NERC/197/2020 effectively capping the amount that certain categories of unmetered electricity consumers in Nigeria should pay for their monthly electricity consumption.
This was done at the time as a further measure to push the distribution companies (Discos) to fulfil their obligation to meter their customers.
Harrison Edeh is a journalist with the International Centre for Investigative Reporting, always determined to drive advocacy for good governance through holding public officials and businesses accountable.