Estimated billing used by Discos which is popularly referred to as crazy bills has been a major concern to Electricity consumers in Nigeria.
The Bill to amend the Electric Power Sector Reform Act is a welcome development as it will assuage the plights of power consumers who are made to pay exorbitant bills that are not commensurate with the electricity consumed.
The purpose of the Electric Power Sector Reform Act (Amendment) Bill 2018, is to amend the Electric Power Sector Reforms Act to prohibit and criminalise estimated billing by Discos and provide for compulsory installation of pre-paid meters to all power consumers in Nigeria and other related matters.
The proposed Act allows every electricity consumers to apply to the Electricity Distribution Company within his jurisdiction for pre-paid meter to be installed in his premises upon payment of regulated fee and the pre-paid meter shall be installed within 30 (Thirty) days of the receipt of the application by the relevant Electricity Distribution Company.
More so, customers who choose to buy their pre-paid meters through Credit Advancement Metering Implementation must state it expressly in their applications and they shall be metered within 30 days of the receipt of their applications.
The proposed Act expressly prohibits the relevant Electricity Distribution Company from charging a consumer on any estimated bill where a pre-paid meter has not been installed in his premises.
Hence, every electricity billing by the Discos shall be strictly pre-paid metering.
Also, where a customer has applied for pre-paid meter to be installed in his premises and this is not metered within the 30 (Thirty) days of the receipt of the application, the relevant electricity distribution company is prohibited from refusing to connect the customer or disconnecting the customer in the event the customer has been connected to a pre-paid meter or estimating his bills.
Upon connection, the Electricity Distribution Company serving the consumer must inform the customer in writing on the nature of the meter installed, tariff methodology and all other services available to the customer.
The National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) is the Regulatory body in charge of ensuring that all licensed Distribution companies comply with the provisions of the proposed Act.
Lastly, any contravention of the provisions of the proposed act in respect of pre-paid metering and installation by the Electricity Distribution Company and their officers is an offence and shall attract civil and criminal liability.
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