• Saturday, July 20, 2024
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Consumers fret over lack of metres as new tariff regime nears


Consumers are troubled by the non availability of the promised pre-paid electricity metres, three days to the commencement of the new tariff regime, BusinessDay investigations show.

The distressed consumers say the commencement of the new regime without the metres would mean the continuation of the estimated billing which is fraught with exploitation.

Anthony Akah, Acting Head, Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) reaction to electricity consumers’ complaints, had announced that the February take-off for the new tariff regime would address the issue of fixed charges.

“The new tariff, besides eliminating the fixed charge, has a robust mechanism to ensure that distribution companies (DISCOs) fully meter their consumers and eliminate ‘crazy’ billing within one year’’, Akah said.

According to him, “this measure will ensure electricity distribution companies improve on service delivery, as their income is dependent on the quality of electricity used by their customers.”

However, consumers who spoke with BusinessDay insist that the take-off date may not be feasible since so many consumers are yet to have their metres installed.

A resident in Ketu area of Lagos, who simply introduced himself as Obinna, said, “This is just a way of justifying exploitation. They ought to have installed meters and improved power before talking about this. I’m billed over N20, 000 without a prepaid metre. Nigerians will definitely resist this move.

“How can they commence, when so many people don’t have metres? Is this not criminal? I paid N25, 000 for prepaid metre since 2012 but no installation till date and they keep sending me monthly estimated bills of N10, 000 even when I hardly get power supply. Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company said they will soon get to my area and its six months now”, Andrew, another resident in Lagos lamented.

Adekunle said, “Its less than five days to the commencement of the new tariff and like many others, I don’t have a metre, so this date is not realistic at all. I receive annoyingly high bills of N40, 000 for four flats and for a while now, I’ve not seen a flash of light but the bills keep coming.

“That date cannot work, every house should have a metre first, and I don’t see that happening in the next couple of months. I have no metre.They just give me bills as they like, whether there is light or not. N15, 000 monthly for three flats, of which one is a one-room self contained unit, with just one A.C and no water heater is the same as robbery”, complained Olive.

Edozie said, “It would be very wrong to commence this new tariff since many Nigerians don’t have access yet to metres. They have promised to get prepaid metres for me but all they have done is continue to bring monthly bills of N9, 000 which do not tally with my electricity usage.”

As the wait for the installation of metres continues, consumers are hoping that the date will be extended and also that electricity distribution companies adhere strictly to NERC’s directive to connect new customers after providing them with metres.