By A’isha Biola Raji
The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has embarked on a public consultation and fact finding mission on the Credited Advance Payment for Metering Implementation, (CAPMI).
The metering scheme allows people that have billing estimation issues or crazing billing issues to come forward and pay in advance for meters and the cost will be deducted from their monthly fixed charge bills.
The scheme, it was gathered, was for a willing customer to pay for a meter which otherwise would have been provided by the service provider but this is not the case due to certain challenges and transition the sector is going through, hence, the service providers have not been able to meet this obligation. It is on this premise, according to NERC that the public consultation is necessary to create awareness on the CAPMI scheme.
Speaking at the public consultation forum in Port Harcourt which was organized by NERC, the representative of the Commission’s Chairman, Dr Abba Ibrahim said that over 50 percent of electricity consumers were not metered and therefore subjected to what he called estimated billings, popularly known as crazing billings in Nigeria.
He explained that the scheme enables willing customers who cannot wait for their distribution companies to come up with their own metering plan to make deposit and get a meter not later than 45 days and get a rebate from the fixed charge component of the bill which will be a discount from the fixed charge for a duration of 2 years.
Dr Ibrahim said “ideally, it is the distribution company that should provide the customers in its jurisdiction with meters, but we understood that they had no fund to do it, hence we came with CAPMI.
“Besides, the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (PHEDC) is partnering with a bank here locally and the bank is providing credit for its customers to support this scheme.”
According to the Port Harcourt distribution company Assistant General Manager Customer Services, Mr Godwin Orovwiroro, the company has installed over 1,600 meters within the company areas of license and the company is also deploying additional 20,000 meters and that so far has exceeded the number of people who paid for meters.
Mr Orovwiroro said distribution companies were bound by regulation to refund the money paid for meters by customers, and that if they failed to do so, customers could go back to NERC to lodge complaints as it is actionable.