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Discos overbilled 7.1million customers in nine months – FG

todayFebruary 12, 2024 31

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Eko Disco overbilled 371,828 customers under the estimated billing category between January and June 2023, as the months of July, August and September were not captured in the report released by NERC. It overbilled these customers to the tune of N14.13bn.

Ibadan Disco made N333.68m from the overbilling of 143,465 customers underestimated billing between January and September last year, while Jos Disco overbilled 1,264,537 customers to the tune of N13.3bn.

Ikeja Disco overbilled 934,438 customers by N20.9bn, as Kaduna raked in N1.14bn from the overbilling of 126,071 power users under its franchise area during the review period.

Kano Discos overbilled 71,120 customers by N196.97m during the nine month period, while Port Harcourt Disco overbilled 605,621 customers to the tune of N14.2bn between January and June, as the number of overbilled customers in July, August and September were not captured.

It was reported on Saturday that the power sector regulator declared that it would deduct N10,505,286,072 from the annual allowed revenues of the 11 power distribution companies during the next tariff review as part of sanctions over their non-compliance with the capping of estimated bills for unmetered customers.

NERC stressed that the billing of unmetered customers by the power firms in their various franchise areas for 2023 revealed non-compliance with the monthly energy caps issued by the commission.

The regulator often issues orders stipulating the maximum amount that any unmetered customer is meant to pay to the distribution company that provides him or her electricity services.

The amount is continued until the customer is metered by the distribution company, according to NERC’s order to the power firms.

In its order, as reported on Saturday, the regulator said, “The public may recall that in 2020, the commission issued the order on Capping of Estimated Bills (Order No: NERC/197/2020) and subsequently issued monthly energy caps which aimed to align the estimated bills for unmetered customers with the measured consumption of metered customers on the same supply feeder.

“A review of the electricity distribution companies’ billing of unmetered customers for 2023 has revealed non-compliance with the monthly energy caps issued by the commission.”

In response to this and in a bid to safeguard unmetered customers from arbitrary billing by Discos, the commission stated that pursuant to Section 34(1)(d) of the Electricity Act 2023, it had issued the order on Non-Compliance with Capping of Estimated Bills (Order No: NERC/2024/004-01 4).

It said the order stipulates the following: “i. Credit adjustment to customers: Discos are to issue credit adjustments to all over-billed unmetered customers for the period January to September 2023 by the March 2024 billing cycle.

“ii. Public notice: Discos have been directed to publish the list of credit adjustment beneficiaries in two national dailies and on their website no later than March 31, 2024.

“iii, Regulatory sanctions: The commission shall deduct a sum of N10,505,286,072 from the annual allowed revenues of the 11 Discos during the next tariff review, to deter future non-compliance with the energy caps approved by the commission.”

Electricity consumers nationwide have continued to lodge complaints against excessive estimated bills by power distribution companies in Nigeria.

Written by: EaglesFM

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