The electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) said the estimated billing methodology in Nigeria is legally practiced in about 92 countries, saying they are working to bridge the 4.1 million metering gap.
The Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors (ANED) during a public hearing on the Bill to Criminalise Estimated Billing at the National Assembly on Tuesday said the DisCos are making huge investments in providing meters as N299 billion is required as Capital Expenditure (CAPEX) to meter 4.1m the remaining customers.
The DisCos’ body also said estimated billing methodology was standard practice in USA, Turkey, Germany, Brazil, Chile, China, India, Indonesia among others. Over 26 African countries including Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, and Cameroon also maintain this global standard.
A statement issued by the Director of Advocacy and Research, Barrister Sunday Oduntan in Abuja yesterday said while the CAPEX allowed for all the 11 DisCos is N305bn for five years to provide meters, maintain their networks and perform other obligations, the 4.1m metering gap stands at N299bn amounting to 98 per cent of the allowed CAPEX.
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ANED also noted that any new legislation would need to consider the historical challenges of the DisCos which include non-cost reflective nature of the electricity tariff which has created a significant market shortfall of over N800bn.
While advocating for legislative action against energy theft and meter bypass, ANED said metering alone contributes to an estimated 30 per cent reduction of their Collection Losses adding that the DisCos lose about 40 per cent monthly to energy theft.
It called for the National Assembly to enact laws criminalising energy theft and meter bypass, and creating electricity special/mobile courts. “This would assist in catalysing the desired large scale metering within the sector,” it noted.
To ensure reduction in estimated billing, ANED said its members have ensured the 100 per cent metering of all Maximum Demand customers (large users) in their networks; adopted check-meters to measure consumption to ensure fair bill estimation; and adjust bills of customers where there are errors.