President Muhammadu Buhari has directed a nationwide metering in a bid to end the era of estimated and arbitrary billing for electricity.
Recall that the Minister of Finance, Budget And National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, had on Tuesday, announced that the President had approved one-year deferment of the 35 per cent import adjustment tax (levy) imposed on fully-built unit (FBU) electricity meters HS Code 9028.30.00.00.
“This is to immediately bridge the gap between the demand for electricity meters and local supply. It is also envisaged that this will provide protection for local electricity meter manufacturers and the opportunity to ramp local capacity in the production of meters,” she had said through her spokesman, Yunusa Tanko Abdullahi.
In a statement issued Wednesday evening, the chairman of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), James Momoh, said the waiver of the import levy was also to ensure that those that don’t have meters can be supplied as early as possible at reasonable costs.
“The President has directed that there should be a nationwide mass-metering program in an effort by the Federal Government to put a stop to estimated and arbitrary billing for electricity,” Momoh said.
“He has also approved a waiver of the import levy on meters, so that those that do not have meters can be supplied as early as possible at reasonable costs.”
On tariffs, the NERC boss stated, “ The general public and all stakeholders in the power sector are by this statement urged to disregard any reports of an arbitrary tariff increase affecting Nigerians.”
According to him, the new tariff regime will exempt vulnerable customers consuming 50KW or less.
The NERC chairman noted that customers on estimated billing will not also be affected as the president has ordered mass metering of consumers across the country.
“NERC wishes to clarify that tariff reviews going forward will only follow service-based principles. Under these service-based principles DisCos will only be able to review tariff rates for customers when they consult with customers, commit to increasing the number of hours of supply per day and quality of service,” Momoh said.
“In all cases poor and vulnerable Nigerians will not experience any increase. In line with these expectations, DisCos are directed to engage with their customers on a Service Based Tariff structure. Under the Service Based Tariff Structure, DisCos can only review tariffs for customers under the following conditions.
“Customers are consulted and communicated a guaranteed level of electricity service by the DISCOs based on hours of supply; customers are metered; no estimated billing through the strict enforcement of the capping regulation.
“This means that unmetered customers will not experience any cost increase beyond what is chargeable to metered customers in the same area. Even under the above conditions, there will be no change in tariff for the most vulnerable as tariffs for those consuming 50KW or less remain frozen.
“Customers receiving less than 12 hours of supply will also not experience any change in tariffs. In addition, the President has directed that there should be a nationwide mass-metering program in an effort by the Federal Government to put a stop to estimated and arbitrary billing for electricity.”