The Energy Consumer Rights and Responsibility Initiative (ECRRI) condemned the National Assembly on Friday for failing to criminalize the issuing of estimated bills to customers by power Distribution Companies (DisCos).
Mr Surai Fadairo, National President of ECRRI, told the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos that the measure would have hastened the country’s metering gap closure.
According to NAN, the Federal House of Representatives attempted to ban the issue of such bills to customers across the country in 2018. The bill would mandate DisCos to provide prepaid meters within a specified period.
Fadairo said: This bill would have put an end to what Nigerians are facing today in the hands of the DisCos but unfortunately it did not scale through.
“We believe that there is a need to revive the bill, especially as we are moving toward another election year with the reconstitution of a new national assembly.
“There is a need to stop the exploitation of Nigerians with outrageous bills and the best way to do that is to make it an offence to issue estimated bills to customers.”
He said the group was ready to work with the legislators to ensure that the estimated billing system was prohibited in Nigeria which would compel the DisCos to intensify efforts to meter customers.
According to him, this has become imperative, especially with the implementation of the Multi-Year Tariff Order (MYTO) for the DisCos as approved by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission.
“The MYTO has been approved for the DisCos until 2025 which will see periodic reviews in tariffs to customers based on certain parameters.
“We believe the only way customers can be best served is for them to get metered to prevent further exploitation,” he said.
Fadairo noted that though the Meter Asset Provider (MAP) scheme was currently ongoing, the DisCos need to expedite action to ensure the prompt metering of all customers who had made payments for their prepaid meters.