By Raji Rasak
The government directive asking consumers yet to be metered not to pay electricity bills is applicable only to Maximum Demand (MD) customers, electricity distribution companies said on Monday.
The Eko Electricity Distribution Company (EKEDC) and Ikeja Electric made this known in a statement jointly signed by Heads of their Corporate Communications, Messrs Felix Ofulue and Godwin Idemudia.
The companies said that residential consumers were not included in the directive issued by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).
They said that the clarification was necessary because of a report claiming that NERC directed all consumers yet to be metered to stop paying electricity bills.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that maximum demand customers are commercial and industrial customers, who consume high levels of electricity and contribute substantially to the revenues of distribution companies.
“We are happy to report that our maximum demand customers have been provided with meters as directed by NERC and are no longer billed by estimation.
“While we are making concerted efforts to provide meters for all our customers, we will continue to ensure the integrity of our bills and do everything within our mandate to comply with all NERC directives.
“We, therefore, urge our non-MD customers to please avail themselves of the content of the directive and be rightly guided.
“Consumers should not misinterpret it to avoid paying for electricity already consumed,’’ they said.
NAN reports that NERC, on June 11, directed MD customers not provided with meters to stop paying estimated bills presented by distribution companies.
The commission also directed the companies not to disconnect such customers.
It advised such customers to report to the commission, if disconnected.
NERC said that the directive was to make the companies to effectively execute metering deployment for MD customers.
The Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors, ANED had also made the clarification in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Sunday.
The Chief Executive Officer of ANED, Azu Obiaya, told NAN that the directive applied only to MD customers and not residential.
NERC had in June 2016 directed distribution companies to meter all MD customers by November 30, 2016.
Following the expiration of the deadline, NERC further directed that MD customer not metered by March should not pay any estimated electricity bill presented by any distribution company.
Obiaya said: “We recognise that our residential consumers will be interested in this notice, thinking that it applies to them in their need for meters, and we recognise that everyone will like to be metered, we are working toward that.
“But this time, that notice by NERC is specific for maximum demand customers.
“It is a challenge, but we are working hard to ensure that we meter all MD customers to eliminate issues associated with estimated billing that those customers have.” (NAN)