The House of Representatives has passed a bill seeking to prohibit and criminalise estimated billing by the Electricity Distribution Companies (DISCOS) in Nigeria. The lower legislative chamber unanimously voted in favour of the bill at the plenary on Tuesday, January 22, after considering the report of its committee on power sector.
The bill, which was sponsored by Femi Gbajabiamila Majority Leader of the House, will also make the installation of prepaid meters compulsory for all power consumers in Nigeria. At the public hearing on the bill, June 5, 2018, Gbajabiamila had noted that the electricity distribution companies had accepted estimated billing as the normal practice to the detriment of consumers who are often forced to pay for electricity not consumed.
He decried the arbitrariness in the billing system, stressing that estimated billing could only be used where a consumer’s meter could not be accessed by the electricity company. According to Gbajabiamila, “Any regulation that allows estimation of bills when the actual consumption can be ascertained is against natural justice and equity and should not stand.”