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Consumers lose N170bn to estimated billing as Discos lose N30b on power theft monthly

Nigerians that are on estimated billing in their monthly access to electricity are losing about N170 billion to the tariff payment formula which power Distribution Companies (Discos) are not willing to stop due to their claims of paucity of funding.

This was the contained in a report released weekend by the Business Hilights Intelligence Unit (BHIU) in Lagos.

It would be recalled that the Association of National Electricity Distributors (ANED), had earlier last week, revealed that their members need not less than N266bn to procure prepaid meters even as the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has created a window, known as Meter Service Providers (MSPs).

MSPs are persons or companies certified by the Commission as a manufacturer, supplier, vendor, or installer, of Electric Energy Meters services providers who are to work with Discos to deliver meter to Nigerians.

Government may have taken the decision based on the discovery that Discos who ordinarily are supposed to provide meters have shown unreadiness and lack of fund to provide the services.

According to BHIU, major cities in Nigeria have the highest number of customers without prepaid meters and therefore form the bulk of Nigerians that lose huge money to Discos on a monthly basis due to estimated billing.

MSPs are expected to install prepaid meters within 10 days of completion of necessary documentation and payments to customers according to the provisions of the new regulation.

Whereas analysts welcome the introduction of MSPs, there are fears that Discos may create weak enabling conditions for the effective takeoff of the new meter provision policy.

Only weekend, Ikeja Electric Plc, leading Disco for part of Lagos area said Discos suffer N30billion revenue deficit monthly due to government’s fixed pricing per unit of electricity and theft.

The company stated this at the maiden roundtable on the Nigerian Power Sector organised by Sahara Group Limited in Victoria Island, Lagos.

The conference, which has ‘The Nigerian Power Sector: Narratives for Transformation and Sustainability’ as theme, had in attendance representatives of all electricity value chains including consumers, distribution, transmission, generation companies and regulators.

Lamenting the challenges facing the sector, the Group Managing Director (GMD), Sahara Power, Kola Adesina said there was need to develop a purpose driven, credible and coherent framework to solve the problem.

According to him, “We need to have a sense of coherence in the system, alignment of all the relevant stakeholders so that everybody knows what is happening on the other side and not the current blame game we seem to be having. If we all work together, most definitely, we can deliver a better result. I am certain we will have light in Nigeria. It will be steady, regular and affordable and that is what the consumers want”.