–Provides N37bn for metering scheme
By Obas Esiedesa
The Federal Government has charged electricity distribution companies (DisCos) to quickly end the estimated billing system in the electricity supply industry because it is subjective, discretionary, and prone to abuse.
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola gave the charged while speaking at the 28th monthly power sector operators meeting hosted by the Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company on Monday.
He urged the DisCos to key into the Meter Asset Provider (MAP) regulations to benefit from the N37 billion funding provided by the government to speed up the provision of meters to customers.
He warned that as power supply increases, electricity bill would increase, leading to increased friction with consumers.
According to him, “Meter supply has become the big issue of the moment that consumers want us to resolve.
“As a government, we hear them loudly and clearly, and as service providers, we hope that you can hear them too.
“As power supply continues to increase in Generation, Transmission and Distribution, the demand for meters will increase because more power supply and consumption will likely result in increased bills.
“Estimated billings in these circumstance will become a major cause of distrust and conflict between consumers and DisCos, and meters are the easiest way to build the bridge of trust”, he stated.
Fashola said government has responded “by taking advantage of the Meter Asset Provider (MAP) Regulations to deploy a fund of N37bn towards supplying meters through private sector.
“I urge all DisCos who have not taken benefit of this opportunity to quickly do so, or make their own funding arrangements to contract their own meter providers to supply and install meters.
“On the legislative side of government, there is a clear intention to intervene by legislation.
“The Executive and Legislative response show that government is committed to addressing this issue of meters. Let me be clear that every DisCo is affected, and every DisCo needs to respond by providing meters quickly and seeking to end estimated billing, which is subjective, discretionary, and prone to abuse”.
He said the onset of the raining season would create problems for the generation, transmission and distribution of electricity across the country.
He therefore urged the operators to communicate more with the public to inform them about challenges facing the network and how the problems are being tackled.
“As a consumer myself, nothing gives me more comfort than when my service provider shares information about service disruptions. It tells me quickly that at least somebody knows that there is a problem, and gives me hope that something is being done about it”, he added.