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Group decries failure of NASS to criminalise estimated billing

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The Energy Consumer Rights and Responsibilities Initiative (ECRRI) denounced on Friday that the National Assembly did not criminalize the issuance of estimated bills by Electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) to customers.

ECRRI National President Mr. Surai Fadairo told the Nigerian News Agency in Lagos that the move would have speeded up the closing of the metering gap in the country.

NAN recalls that the Federal House of Representatives had sought in 2018 to prohibit the issuance of this type of banknote to consumers across the country.

The bill would oblige DisCos to provide prepaid meters within a specified period.

Fadairo said: This bill would have put an end to what Nigerians face today at the hands of DisCos, but unfortunately it did not go through.

“We believe it is necessary to revive the bill, especially as we head into another election year with the reconstitution of a new national assembly.

“There is a need to stop the exploitation of Nigerians with outrageous bills and the best way to do that is to make it a crime to issue estimated bills to customers.”

He said the group was ready to work with lawmakers to ensure the estimated billing system was banned in Nigeria, forcing DisCos to step up efforts to measure customers.

According to him, this has become imperative, especially with the implementation of the Multi-Year Tariff Order (MYTO) for DisCos passed by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission.

“The MYTO has been approved for DisCos until 2025, which will see periodic reviews in rates to customers based on certain parameters.

“We believe that the only way you can serve customers better is to measure them to prevent further exploitation,” he said.

Fadairo noted that although the Meter Asset Provider (MAP) scheme was currently underway, the DisCos must speed up action to ensure prompt metering of all customers who had made payments for their prepaid meters.

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