The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission on Tuesday in Abuja blamed some Distribution Companies for poor implementation of the Credited Advance Payment for Metering Implementation.
CAPMI provides a platform for willing customers to pay the cost of the meter into a dedicated account jointly managed by the DISCOs and meter Vendor/Installer.
The Chairman of NERC, Dr. Sam Amadi, who disclosed this at a news conference, said the scheme had suffered in spite of the willingness of consumers to cue in.
He said: “The CAPMI scheme has suffered poor implementation in spite of customers’ willingness to make advance payment for meters.
“Although some customers paid for meters, some DISCOs did not provide meters as expected to those who paid.”
Amadi said other distribution companies failed to make adjustments in their billing software to make the mandatory refunds six months after installation of CAPMI meters.
Amadi said the commission was proposing to exempt unmetered customers from paying electricity bills due to alleged reluctance of distribution companies to fully carry out their metering plans.
He explained that the proposal followed a recent decision to cap the maximum charges that an electricity distribution company can levy on its unmetered customers.
Amadi said the decision was aimed at making the Discos to engage in widespread metering of electricity consumers in their networks.
He, however, said the proposal would be subjected to scrutiny by industry operators.
According to him, after a 16 months grace, any Disco that failed to exercise full metering plans would lose revenues from consumers.
He said: “There are three-prong approaches to this: one is that there is a moratorium between now and the next four months for the capping of estimated revenue to start.
“After four months, you have an extra 12 months within which to meter all customers who are on your network.
“After the 12 months and four months, which is 16 months, every unmetered customer will no longer pay electricity bills until he is metered.
“As at today, over 50 per cent of all the registered customers are either unmetered or have non-functional meters.”
Amadi said it was not aimed at hurting stakeholders in the sector, but to get every player in the electricity industry to be active to his responsibilities.
He enjoined distribution companies to report customers who by-passed or cloned meters and tampered with electrical installations to the Police.
He said: “We call on the police authorities to step up prevention and prosecution of criminal activities in the electricity market.”