Decry estimated billing
Stakeholders in the electricity sector, yesterday, said the Federal Government’s intervention in the power sector, especially efforts being made to address challenges limiting the capacity of distribution companies (DisCos) is necessary to improve electricity supply.
The experts also insisted that funding by the Centre Bank of Nigeria (CBN) hovering around N120 billion could drastically reduce the lingering challenges of arbitrary billing of end-users and ensure evacuation of stranded generation capacity.
With an estimated metering gap of five million, electricity customers had repeatedly raised concerns over arbitrary billing. The Federal Government through the CBN last year, launched a mass metering programme to improve revenue collection and ensure a lasting solution to estimated billing.
The Guardian gathered yesterday that at least N3.6 billion has already been disbursed to the 11 DisCos by the apex bank.
According to the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Nigeria has a total of 8, 310, 408 registered active electricity customers. Since the power sector was privatised seven years ago with metering standing as a Key Performance Indicator (KPI), only 3, 704, 302 (44.6 per cent) of electricity customers have been metered, leaving out 55.4 per cent.
While the distribution companies have been unable to dispatch generated electricity due to weak infrastructure, the power generation companies (GenCos) told The Guardian that they have lost as much as N1.2 trillion to poor capacity utilisation and the country’s inability to transport over 21,184.62 megawatts generated to end-users.
The Special Adviser to the President on Infrastructure, Ahmad Zakari, had stated that “there is N120 billion capital expenditure (CAPEX) fund from the Central Bank for DisCos to improve infrastructure for the tariff classes similar to the ongoing metering programme,” Zakari said.
PwC’s Associate Director, Energy, Utilities and Resources, Habeeb Jaiyeola, said that CBN intervention in the sector remained the right step because, given the current installed capacity for the generation companies in Nigeria, the inability of the Discos to completely distribute and collect payment would continue to hinder the ability of the country to fully leverage the installed capacity. He added that: “government’s continued support to Discos will have an overall impact on the sector to facilitate the required progress, adding that the federal government also has equity ownership in the DisCos ad needs to see to their successes.