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Sunday, August 14, 2022

No More Estimated Billing, Replace Faulty Meters – NERC Orders DisCos

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The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has mandated the electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) to replace faulty and obsolete meters for their customers.

This was made known in the Order No. NERC/246/2021 the commission issued on March 4, 2021.

The effective date, according to the commission, was on March 4, 2021.

Titled: “In the matter of the order on structured replacement of faulty and obsolete end-user customer meter in NESI,” the commission submitted seven million customers in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) are unmetered as indicated by customer enumeration data.

It is also estimated that an additional 3 million meters are currently obsolete and due for replacement.

“The existence of a large population of unmetered customers contributed to threats
affecting the financial viability of NESI as unmetered end-use customers expressed
deep dissatisfaction with the estimated billing methodology. The revenue assurance
objectives of DisCos have also been challenged by being unable to properly
account for the utilisation of electricity by end-use customers,” NERC said.

THE NERC then ordered as follows –

A. DisCos shall grant priority to the metering of unmetered customers under the
National Mass Metering Program.

B. DisCos may replace faulty/obsolete meters under the National Mass Metering
Program but these replacements must be done in strict compliance with the
Metering Code and other regulatory instruments of the Commission.

C. DisCos shall inspect meters of metered end-use customers and the replacement
notice shall contain the following –
I. The date of inspection.
ii. Name, designation and signature of the officer that inspected the meter.
iii. The fault identified in the meter.
iv. The date for the installation of the replacement meter.

D. The Commission shall be copied on all replacement notices issued to end-use
customers for the purpose of conducting random reviews of the replacement
exercise.

E. New meters must be installed upon the removal of the faulty/obsolete meter and
under no circumstances shall the customer be placed on estimated billing on
account of the DisCo’s failure to install a replacement meter after the removal of
the faulty/obsolete meter.

F. The customer and DisCo representative shall jointly note the units on the meter
being replaced and the customer must be credited with these units within 48 hours
after the installation of the meter.

G. Customers shall only be billed for loss of revenue where the DisCo establishes meter
tampering, by-pass or unauthorised access as contained in NERC
Order/REG/ 41/2017 on Unauthorised Access, Meter Tampering and Bypass.

H. Activation tokens shall be issued to customers immediately after replacement of the
faulty/obsolete meter.

I. DisCos shall file monthly returns with the Commission on the replacement of
faulty/obsolete meters along with their proposal for the decommissioned meters.

The order according to NERC may be cited as the Order on the Structured Replacement of
Faulty/Obsolete Meters of End-Use Customers and shall take effect from 4 March 2021.

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