FG To NERC: Consumers Should Be Allowed To Buy Meters, Pay Only Undisputed Bills

The Federal Government has told the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission to allow power consumers to purchase meters from approved vendors.
The Federal Government said this is a regulation and not a favour to consumers, adding that disputed bills should also not be paid.
The position of the Federal Government was made known on Thursday via a communique issued based on the outcome of the third edition of the National Council on Power..
The Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing said both the federal and state governments resolved that NERC should reinstate the regulation that permits power consumers to purchase meters, especially where the Discos could not provide the facility.
The communique of the Council, presided over by the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, and the Minister of State for Power, Works and Housing, Suleiman Hassan, with 27 states in attendance, stated: “Council considered issues, observations and recommendations made by the working/technical committees as contained in the reports laid before it, and took key decisions as well as gave directives for implementation with time lines as outlined below.
“NERC to reinstate regulations permitting willing customers to purchase meters from approved meter vendors as approved by the distribution companies and the Nigeria Electricity Management Services Agency with a framework to reimburse such customers in cash, or energy.
“NERC to issue a regulation that enables third-party meter providers to install and manage customers’ meters, provided that such third parties are certified by NEMSA and approved by the Discos based on available metering standards. NERC to provide a framework for compensating the investment made by meter service providers in cash or shares in the Discos.”
On bills, the Federal Government directed NERC to enforce on the Discos the policy directive that any unmetered customer was obligated to pay only the last undisputed bill.
It said the last undisputed bill should be discounted by 15 per cent in each subsequent year that the customer remains unmetered, provided that the failure to meter the customer was the fault of the Disco.
The council stated, “In areas where customers are dissatisfied with the services they are currently enjoying, NERC regulations should give customers the option of contracting better services from service providers and generation companies through policies like the eligible customers regulation and mini-grids using varieties of generation technologies; obtaining better services by compelling Discos to appoint retail agents; and obtaining better services by compelling the Discos to relinquish their franchise to capable investors/service providers..”

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