Electricity consumers in Delta State have charged the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to enforce the “No Meter, No Billing” order to curb the exploitative tendencies of the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC).
The consumers made the demand, May 24, at a one-day NERC Electricity Consumers Public Consultation, with the theme: “Capping of Estimated Billing and Distribution Franchising,” in Asaba, the Delta State capital.
According to them, despite the poor services offered by BEDC, consumers are subjected to outrageous estimated billing, which they consider exploitative. The consumers urged NERC to compel the distribution companies (DISCOs) to supply pre-paid meters free to every home to ensure accurate electricity billing rather than the exploitative estimated billing in the state.
In his response, Prof. James Momoh, NERC chairman, assured the consumers that measures were being taken to put an end to the estimated billing system of the DISCOs. He said steps have been taken to ensure all registered electricity customers are metered within two years, starting from May1, 2019, adding that adding that NERC would put a cap to the maximum amount consumers will pay pending the time they would be metered. “Capping estimated billing here means that the former estimated billings charged consumers for not having meters is going to stop,” he said.
Momoh explained that the burden of procuring meters had been taken away from the DISCOs and given to private investors under the Meter Asset Procurement Programme, but that the meters would not be given free.
Abu Ejoor, Executive Director, BEDC, said the company would ensure the metering of all electricity consumers in the state in line with the directive of NERC. He said enumeration of consumers in the state was ongoing, adding that when all the processes were concluded, consumers who pay for the meters would be metered.
He, however, charged consumers to always consult with the DISCOs before embarking on procurement of power transformers, other ancillary facilities and avoid connecting electricity illegally as it is the duty of the DISCOs to procure electricity materials and connect consumers to the power source.