The Nigerian Electricity regulatory Commission (NERC), in a major policy shift that aims at reforming the Nigerian electricity billing structure, has announced a directive repealing the estimated billing.
The paradigm shift expressly sheds the Estimated Billing Methodology Regulation of 2012, which deployed an array of arbitrary metrics in arriving at the consumption rate of unmetered consumers.
In its place, it puts a ceiling on how much any consumer falling within a specified category of electricity users could be charged monthly.
In a document titled: Order on the Capping of Estimated Bills in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI), endorsed by James Momoh, the NERC Chairman, and Dafe Akpeneye, its Legal, Licensing and Compliance Commissioner, the NERC says the capping of the estimated bills in Nigeria took effect on 20th February 2020.
Under the new billing regime, unmetered R2 and C1 consumers will not be charged for consuming electricity beyond the limit laid down in the order.
R2 consumers are a category of electricity users, predominantly residential customers, who use more than 50 kilowatt-hour in a month (single phase and three phase).
C1 consumers are made up of small businesses (single and three phase).
R1 (residential) consumers, whose monthly consumption does not exceed 50kw/hr of electricity, are to be invoiced at N4/kwhr and a maximum of N200 per month except there is a revision of that order by the NERC.
The NERC said “a consumer of XYZ Disco resident in White Acre under R2 (single phase) tariff class has an energy cap of 78 kilowatt-hour per month and a tariff of N42 per kilowatt-hour. The maximum that XYZ Disco can invoice such a customer is 78kWhr x N24/kWhr = N1,872 per month.”
In a move to deepen the penetration of prepaid meters among users, the NERC directed that all the customers on tariffs higher than those of the categories above must be metered by Discos by 30th April 2020.
It went further to say that consumers would not be compelled to pay estimated bills if Discos failed in their obligation to provide meters.
“The customer shall remain connected to supply without further payment to the Discos until a meter is installed on the premises under the framework work of MAP Regulations or any other financing arrangement approved by the commission,” it said.
According to the NERC, Discos are duty-bound to supply meters to all consumers on the tariff category A1 in their franchise areas and identify their properties.
Consumers within this category use grid-connected buildings for purposes such as agriculture, government and teaching hospitals, water boards, religious houses and educational establishments using single or three-phase meters.