NERC fines DisCos N10.5 billion for overbilling unmetered customers

FOLLOWING the non-compliance of the 11 Electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) to cap estimated billing for unmetered customers in the country, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has issued a fine of N10.51 billion to be paid by all DisCos.

The commission recalled that in February 2020, the ‘Order on Capping of Estimated Bills’ was issued and subsequently, a monthly energy cap for all DisCos, but the regulation has not been followed. 

The energy cap is aimed at aligning the estimated bills for unmetered customers with the measured consumption of metered customers on the same supply feeder.

    The NERC said, “In response to this and the bid to safeguard customers from arbitrary billing by DisCos, the Commission, according to Section 34 (1)(d) of the Electricity Act 2023 (EA 2023), has issued the Order on Non-compliance with the capping of estimated bills which stipulates the following:  

    • Credit Adjustment to Customers: Discos are to issue credit adjustments to all overbilled for the period of January to September 2023 by the March 2024 billing cycle.  
    • Public Notice: DisCos have been directed to publish the list of credit adjustment beneficiaries in two national dailies and on their website no later than 31st of March 2024. 
    • Regulatory Sanctions: the commission shall deduct a sum of N10, 505, 286,072 from the annual allowed revenues of the eleven (11) DisCos during the next tariff review, to determine future non-compliance with the energy caps approved by the Commission.

    The ICIR reported that the total number of electricity customers increased to 11.71 million in the third quarter of 2023.

    According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the metered customers in the quarter under review stood at 5.68 million. This indicates a growth of 3.77 per cent from 5.47 million recorded in the preceding quarter.

    Also, estimated customers during the quarter were 6.03 million, higher by 0.53 per cent from 6.00 million in Q2 2023.

    Kehinde Ogunyale tells stories by using data to hold the government into account. Shoot him a mail at [email protected] or Twitter: Prof_KennyJames

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