NERC to Compel Electricity Firms to Publish Meter Deployment Schedule

Tony Akah

Concerned by the spate of complaints by consumers over non-supply of meters by electricity distribution companies, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) on Tuesday threatened to compel the operators to publish their deployment schedules.

The acting Chief Executive Officer of the NERC, Anthony Akah, said this would ensure strict adherence to the meter roll out plan contained in the performance agreements signed with government by the utility firms.

“Such publication will make unmetered customers to be aware of the estimated period they will have to wait before they can be metered,” Mr. Akah said.

Lamenting the high incidences of vandalism of power distribution facilities, electricity theft and other unwholesome activities, Mr. Akah said this has led to the reduction in peak power supply from the national grid from over 5,000 megawatts (MW) two weeks ago to less than 2,800 MW.

Mr. Akah, who was speaking in Abuja at the signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Consumer Protection Council (CPC), solicited the support of the public and the Council to collaborate with the service providers and security agencies in ensuring security of electrical installations.

On implementation of the new tariff regime, the NERC boss said the Commission would not comment any further after issuing “a non-tolerance statement on wrongful estimated bills, to compel customers to buy, install and repair transformers, poles, unsafe electrical connections and other unsafe practices by the electricity distribution companies.”

He reiterated NERC’s commitment to monitor the strict compliance of NERC’s regulations by operators in the sector.

The collaboration between NERC and CPC, he explained, was part of “concerted efforts aimed at reducing or eliminating completely the incidence of estimated billing in the system”.

On previous collaborations between the two organisations, Mr. Akah said such partnership needs to be strengthened as NERC has perfected plans to put electricity distribution companies under commitment to fulfil their service level agreements.

The blue print of the present MOU, Mr. Akah said, was fine-tuned by both organizations to promote and protect the interest of the Nigerian electricity consumers. NERC is seeking the collaboration of CPC in sensitizing the electricity consumers of their obligations.

Responding, the Director General of CPC, Modupe Atoki, said the longstanding relationship between the two agencies deserved to be encouraged by other agencies to make the industry work better.

“It could be debilitating whenever any agency of government refuses to collaborate with the CPC on consumer issues. It is the consumers that suffer at the end of the day,” she said.

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