The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) issued a directive in June 2016 to electricity distribution companies (DisCos). This directive ordered them (DisCos) to meter all their MD (Maximum Demand) customers before 30th, November 2016. But due to the DisCos inability to meet the ultimatum, this date was shifted forward to 1st, March 2017.
Read Also: NERC Warns DISCO To Meter Customers.
The NERC directive goes as follows;
1. Any MD customer that was not metered by 1 March 2017 shall not pay any electricity bill presented by a distribution company on the basis of estimated billing methodology and these customers are advised to report this to the Commission.
2. No distribution company shall disconnect any MD customer that was not metered by 1 March 2017 on the basis of the customer’s refusal to pay a bill issued after the compliance deadline on the basis of estimated billing methodology.
3. Any MD customer that was not metered by 1 March 2017 should notify the Commission directly.
However, there has been some misconception among electricity consumers. This misconception is particularly Non-MD customers, refusing to pay their bills until they are metered.
This misconception is largely due to the way the information has been passed to consumers on a lot of media outlets with headlines like; “NERC asks unmetered DisCos customers not to pay bills” and “NERC asks unmetered electricity consumers to reject bills”.
To clarify, the NERC directive only applies to MD customers and not all electricity consumers.
Who is an MD customer?
According to NERC, MD customers are commercial and industrial customers who consume high levels of electricity and contribute substantially to the revenues of distribution companies. The consumption threshold for MD customers is 45KVA.
According to Ikeja electric, 90-95% of customers that fall under this description are commercial customers as well as large multi-storey residential luxury apartments. These customers usually have their own dedicated transformers and are not on public transformers.
Customers not classified as MD are termed Non-MD or rely on public transformers for their daily consumption.
Distribution companies like Ikeja Electric, IBEDC, Eko Electric and AEDC have made the move to educate their consumers on the terms of the directive. IBEDC has even revealed that they have successfully complied with the directive and fully metered all MD customers under their network.
Even though this is not exactly great news for Non-MD customers, we can only hope that this will contribute to the birth of a new and improved power sector in Nigeria altogether.