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Published On: Tue, May 1st, 2018

Estimated Billing: Reps vow to repeal existing laws

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…as AEDC pledges improved supply to customers

By Etuka Sunday

The Chairman, House of Representatives Ad-Hoc Committee on Review of Estimated Billing by Electricity Distribution Companies (Discos), Hon. Israel Ajibola Famurewa yesterday said, the House may repeal existing laws or enact new ones to permanently address the issue of estimated billing system in the power sector.
Hon. Ajibola who gave hint at the North Central Zonal Interactive Session organised by the
House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee for electricity customers in the zone held in Mararaba, Nasarawa State, said, the interactive session was to get first-hand information about the quality of service the customers are getting from the power company especially in the area of estimated billing.
He said, “the House of Representatives as the true representatives of the people has been under immense pressure from their constituents with multi-facet and serious complaints against the Discos which include excessive billing, Discos refusal to meter them/preference for alleged draconic estimated billing, non-compliance with the connection/reconnection regulations, installation of manipulated prepaid meters and much more.
“The Committee was mandated to investigate all excessive electricity charges levied on consumers by Discos, quality of prepaid meters being installed by Discos, why estimated billing has not been phased out and report back to the House for further legislative action.
“Therefore, the Committee resolved to hold interactive session in each of the six (6) geo-political zones of the country to garner firsthand information from electricity consumers on the matter.
“Steady power supply in this zone that harbours the nation’s seat of power is not negotiable as the government strives to attract foreign investments into the economy. As we all know, steady power supply is a prerequisite for economic growth/development, overcoming poverty and attaining reasonable standard of living,” he said.
In his response, the Managing Director, AEDC, Engr. Ernest Mupwaya pledged to improve on power delivery to the customers in the franchise area of: Abuja, Nasarawa,Kogi and Niger State.
Engr. Mupwaya who said that the company has reduced its aggregate Technical Commercial and Collection (ATC&C) losses to 38%, noted that the company has injected and still injecting huge amount of money on improving the infrastructure and quality of power supply to the customers.
He said, because of the huge investment in its network, it can now take over 870megawatts, adding, that about 146, 749 meters had so far been installed, and that it has also engaged PWC firm on a contract for more supply of meters to customers.
The AEDC boss said, based on calculation, estimated billing is constant but the formula is not constant.
He explained that when the volume of power is supplied to a cluster, 20% is removed as losses, the number of metered customers are also removed and then the remaining 80% is shared among the customers.
NERC however said, that the remaining 80% should not just be shared for the customers, but that it should be shared based on the number of hours supplied to them.
Some of the customers who bear their minds, complained of excessive estimated billing, faulty meters, overloaded transformers, lack of prompt response to emergencies, unprofessional attitude of the company’s field staff among others.
Meanwhile, the representatives of Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) at the meeting, Olisa Chukwuma of Consumer Affairs and Sam Ekeh of Public Affairs said, about 4.7million customers were unmetered in 2017.
NERC said, all Discos were mandated by NERC to close the metering gap in three years which is expected to end on December 31, 2018.

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