BusinessElectricity: Estimated-Billing Customers Increase As DisCos Exploit Nigerians

Electricity: Estimated-Billing Customers Increase As DisCos Exploit Nigerians

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February 11, (THEWILL) – Nigeria’s electricity distribution companies (DisCos) are raking in enormous revenue from poor services while their estimated-billing customers continue to rise and groan.

The recent Nigeria Electricity Report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) for Q3 2023 revealed that the number of estimated-billing customers of the 11 DisCos increased to 6.03 million from 5.9 million year-on-year.

The report stated that “estimated customers during the quarter were 6.03 million, higher by 0.53 per cent from 6.00 million in Q2 2023. On a year-on-year basis, estimated customers increased by 2.02 per cent in Q3 2023 from 5.91 million in Q3 2022”.

Estimated billing is a system of arbitrary charging against unmetered electricity consumers for electricity (energy) they did not actually consume. The billing is based on perceived pattern of consumption, or on the ‘best of judgement’, with unjustified high revenue targets as the motive

Consumers in this system are mandated to pay far above what they consumed on a monthly basis and the charges are usually outrageous.

“It is a system that thrives on corruption and is driven by tardy inclination to exploitation which defines a commodity in the category of monopoly,” said Gabriel Madu, an electrical installations contractor,

Since the Federal Government introduced the metering system in 2018, it has maintained that electricity consumers face no hurdles in procuring meters

Also, the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Council (NERC) has reiterated an end to estimated billing with promises of adequate metering; in reality, the contrary has been the case. The meters are hardly seen in the quantity being declared by the authorities.

This leaves the consumers at the mercy of the DisCos who feast on them even when electricity supply has not improved over the years and customer numbers continue to rise.

According to NBS, the total electricity customer numbers in Q3 2023 rose to 11.71 million from 11.47 million in Q2 2023, showing an increase of 2.08 per cent.

On a year-on-year basis, customer numbers in Q3 2023 rose by 7.09 per cent from 10.94 million reported in Q3 2022.

Similarly, metered customers stood at 5.68 million in Q3 2023, indicating a growth of 3.77 per cent from 5.47 million recorded in the preceding quarter. On a year-on-year basis, this grew by 13.07 per cent from the figure reported in Q3 2022 which was 5.02 million.

Electricity supply was 5,731.60 (Gwh) in Q3 2023 from 5,909.83 (Gwh) in the previous quarter. However, on a year-on-year basis, electricity supply increased by 14.09% compared to 5,023.96 (Gwh) reported in Q3 2022

The report further revealed that the Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC) has 1,329,375 estimated-billing customers – the highest among the 11 DisCos, while Ikeja (IEDC) has the least – 227,062.

Ibadan also belongs to the league of top four revenue generating DisCos: Ikeja (IEDC) with N56.80 billion, Eko (EKDC) N42.45 billion, and Abuja (AEDC), which raked in N39.94 billion.

The Ibadan zone (which covers Oyo, Ogun, Osun, Kwara, Ekiti, Kogi and parts of Niger states), pooled N27.41 billion to rank fourth/ during the period.

Without significant improvement in power supply, revenue collected by the DisCos increased during the review period.

“Revenue collected by the DISCOs during the period was N260.16 billion from N263.08 billion in Q2 2023. On a year-on-year basis, revenue generated in the reference period rose by 28.40 per cent from N202.62 billion recorded in Q3 2022,” the report stated.

Total customer numbers in Q3 2023 stood at 11.71 million from 11.47 million in Q2 2023, showing an increase of 2.08 per cent.

On a year-on-year basis, customer numbers in Q3 2023 rose by 7.09 per cent from 10.94 million reported in Q3 2022.

Similarly, metered customers stood at 5.68 million in Q3 2023, indicating a growth of 3.77 per cent from 5.47 million recorded in the preceding quarter. On a year-on-year basis, this grew by 13.07 per cent from the figure reported in Q3 2022 which was 5.02 million.

Electricity supply was 5,731.60 (Gwh) in Q3 2023 from 5,909.83 (Gwh) in the previous quarter. However, on a year-on-year basis, electricity supply increased by 14.09% compared to 5,023.96 (Gwh) reported in Q3 2022

President Bola Tinubu on Friday signed the Electricity Act (Amendment) Bill, 2024, into law.

The bill, which was passed by the House of Representatives on July 27, 2023, and the Senate on November 14, 2023, was sponsored by Babajimi Benson, who represents Ikorodu Federal Constituency of Lagos State.

The Electricity Act (Amendment) Bill, 2024, seeks to address the development and environmental concerns of host communities and sets aside five per cent of the actual annual operating expenditures of power generating companies (GENCOs) from the preceding year for the development of their respective host communities.

The Bill further provides that the funds set aside for the development of host communities will be received, managed, and administered for infrastructure development in the host communities by a reputable Trustee/Manager to be jointly appointed by the respective GENCO and their host community.

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