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Fresh facts have emerged on electricity consumers who are still on estimated billing regime will continue to experience monthly rise in bills sent to them by Discos.
This is as the indebtedness of Discos to the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) has risen to N231bn as of March 2019.
Discos collect funds from power consumers on behalf of other operators in the sector, but it was learnt on Sunday in Abuja that the indebtedness of the power distributors to TCN alone had risen to N231bn.
The Managing Director, TCN, Usman Mohammed, stated that this was why it had become vital to correct the mistake that was made during the privatisation process of the power sector, noting that “It is important we reset those distribution companies on the path of sustainability so that we don’t continue to put money in a company that doesn’t deliver as expected.”
Findings by Business Hilights undercover team that operations in four select Discos as case studies revealed the following which are still subject to further investigations;
1. Every Business Unit of Discos are given monthly revenue targets which they must meet at all cost or they disconnect as part of efforts to reach the target;
2. Before the massive protests by electricity consumers for Discos to install meters, meeting the set revenue targets are always met because there is less increase in estimated billings;
3. Since sizable percentage of consumers across every Business Unit have started hooking onto prepaid meters which are generally cheaper, revenue targets of Discos are beginning to be impaired as not all usual consumers are now on estimated billing regime;
4. As Discos observe stress on their monthly targets set for each Business Unit due to rising number of consumers with prepaid meters, Discos resorted to transferring the differences (ie, shortfall from prepaid customers) to customers yet to install their meters, thus causing their monthly estimated bills to become crazier;
5. A Customer Service staff of one of Lagos Disco’s Business Unit (name with held) told our undercover reporter during a visit that “Since more people are getting their prepaid meters, our monthly revenue targets are facing problems”.
6. While showing heaps of crazy bills complain letters from estimated billing customers, the official said “The complains have been rising since more people are migrating to prepaid,” thus suggesting that for the fact that more people are complaining of high bills as more get their prepaid meters, it means that Discos, who are bent on meeting their set monthly revenue targets, are transferring the differences from the reduced electricity tariff paid by prepaid meter users to those still battling with estimated billing system.
Though several top officials of either the Eko Disco or Ikeja Disco who were approached for comments on the findings failed to make any comment on setting revenue targets for Business Units and Area Undertakings, they claimed that delivery of prepaid meters are now seamless.
Key documents include house ownership papers, evidence of paying not less than 80 per cent of estimated bill arrears, payment for meter and others.
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