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Number of metered customers decline to 3.51 million in 2020 – NBS

Number of metered customer decline to 3.51 million in 2020 – NBS

Number of metered customers in Africa’s biggest economy has declined from 3.80 million recorded in 2019 to 3.51 million in 2020, data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) electricity report shows.

The NBS, in its Electricity report released on Monday, said that the number of metered customers increased consecutively on a year-on-year basis from 3.15 million in 2015 to 3.80 million in 2019 but declined to 3.51 million in 2020.

It said: “In 2015, Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) recorded the highest number, while IBEDC stood top between 2016 and 2019. Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) recorded the highest in 2020.”

Recall that the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has reported in its quarter two 2022 report that only 40.95 per cent of electricity customers have been metered, a situation that poses a key challenge in the industry.

This according to NERC means that out of every ten registered electricity customers, six are still on estimated billing which has contributed to customer apathy towards payment for electricity bills and are thus on estimated billing.

Read also: Africa requires $35 billion annual investment to meet electricity need – Sylva

The commission said it has put in place a mechanism to prevent outrageous estimated billing of customers by using average three months consumption of metered customers on each feeder, maximum allowed energy consumption estimates were computed for each customer category and tariff band.

Thus, for each class of customer on a feeder, an energy estimation cap is established to guide the discos and thus protect unmetered customers from being over charged while waiting for appropriate metering, the regulator said.

While noting this, the report noted that the estimated customer records again show year-on-year positive growth rates consecutively.

It said: “By definition, estimated customers do not own meters but are supplied electricity and billed. From figure 5, the number of estimated customers in 2015 was 3.85 million, and 4.19 million in 2016.

“In 2017, it rose by 4.28 per cent when 4.37 million customers were recorded. It further increased to 5.05 million in 2018 and grew by 14.08 percent in 2019 when 5.76 million customers were recorded. Yet, this positive trend continued in 2020 with estimated customers of 6.86 million.”