The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has said the low level metering in the power sector is responsible for low revenue collection by electricity distribution companies in the country.
The commission stated this in its latest quarterly report, adding that over 55 percent of registered electricity customers have not been metered.
According to the report, Discos revenue collection would improve if power consumers are metered.
It said: “Metering gap for end-use customers still remains a key challenge facing the electricity industry. The records of the commission indicate that of the 8,310,408 registered electricity customers, only 3,704,302 (about 45 per cent) have been metered as at the end of the third quarter of 2018.
“Thus, the majority of customers (55 per cent) are still on estimated billing, thus contributing to customer apathy towards payment for electricity.”
The commission also revealed that the population of registered customers increased by 4.2 per cent in the third quarter of 2018, compared to the second quarter, while the metered customers increased by a relatively higher proportion of 4.4 per cent.
“The observed increase in registered customers was a consequence of the ongoing enumeration exercise by Discos, which has helped Discos to properly register individuals who had previously consumed electricity through illegal connection to the networks”, NERC said.
The report also said that a review of the customer population data indicated that only Abuja, Benin and Port Harcourt Discos had metered more than 50 per cent of their customers as of the end of September 2018.
“The commission, therefore, has intensified its monitoring of Discos’ implementation of and compliance to the provisions of the Meter Asset Providers regulations in order to fast-track meter roll-out and close the metering gap in Nigerian electricity supply industry within three years,” it added.
A major initiative, according to the report, towards improving revenue collection in the electricity industry is the provision of meters to all registered end-use consumers of electricity.
“To this end, the commission continues to monitor Discos’ process of procuring MAP in compliance with the provisions of the MAP Regulations.
“The MAP Regulations issued by NERC in March 2018 aims at fast-tracking the roll-out of meters through the engagement of third-party investors for the financing, procurement, supply, installation and maintenance of electricity meters”, the report said.