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Senate to review electricity billing system



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  • accuses DISCOs of excessive billing

The Senate during plenary on Tuesday agreed to review the excessive the billing system of all distribution companies in the country.

The decision of the Senate followed a motion by Senator Dino Melaye who relied on a point of order to accuse the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) of astronomical billing of its customers in and around the Federal Capital Territory.

Melaye lamented that officials of the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company came to his residence and changed his prepaid meter to a new one, which they also came to remove three weeks after.

He alleged that the company then placed his house on estimated billing, which he described as “astronomical and unfair.” He wondered how the ordinary Nigerian could afford such high electricity bill if he found it difficult to pay.

“If I that is a privileged Nigerian is undergoing this pain and agonising over the astronomical fees, what do we say about the man in Aguleri or the young palm wine tapper in Otuoke? We must speak for those who cannot speak for themselves; we must discuss this issue of estimated billing by all distribution companies in Nigeria,” Melaye said.

ALSO SEE: Order DISCOs to provide pre-paid meters – SERAP tells Fashola

In his remark, the Deputy President of the Senate, Sen. Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over the plenary noted the complaint, saying the matter would be discussed at plenary on Wednesday.

Recall that the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission directed all electricity distributors in the country to provide meters to all the unmetered electricity consumers so as to effectively end the regime of the indiscriminate billing of customers. Months after the deadline passed, nothing significant appears to have been done, as many Nigerians still complain of being exploited.

National Daily learnt that the amount being charged unmetered customers is very high because of the power sharing formula employed for determining their level of consumption. “If, for instance, 10,000 megawatts are allocated to an area and we discover at the end of the month that 2, 000megawatts were consumed by metered customers, the balance of 8, 000 megawatts will be billed to the unmetered customers because it is assumed that they used them,” one of the distribution officers said.

Metering statistics released by the NERC in April 2016 revealed that there were over six million electricity customers with verified accounts throughout the country. While 3.1 million of them had meters, the other 2.9m did not have; hence they are placed on the estimated billing methodology.

By October 2016, the figure of metered customers had increased to 3.329m.

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