Alexander Okere, Benin
The Edo State Civil Society Organisations have applauded the directive by the Federal Government to the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission to direct the distribution companies to provide meters for their customers and stop estimated billing.
The coalition, however, called for the implementation of the directive in order to make it effective and beneficial to the growing number of electricity customers affected by the estimated billing system.
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, had on Monday ordered NERC to enforce the contract mandating the electricity distribution companies to provide meters to their customers and eliminate estimated billing in the power sector.
The Public Relations Officer of the CSOs, Mr Osazee Edigin, while reacting the directive, told our correspondent on Tuesday that estimated billing was an act of extortion that must be criminalised.
“The recent directive by the Federal Government to the Discos to meter their customers is commendable if it will be carried out to the letter. It is no longer news that electricity consumers have been complaining of estimated billing by the distribution companies over the years and it seems that the government was not aware of it until recently,” Edigin stated.
He, however, expressed concern over the statement credited to Fashola that NERC should ensure that the Discos and Meter Asset Providers made meters available to customers, noting that it could be political.
He added, “The minister, at a public hearing on the bill to criminalise estimated billing and related matters in the House of Representatives organised by the Committee on Power, did say emphatically that metering is not the core responsibility of the Discos.
“One will be forced to ask why he is pushing for customers’ metering at this point in time. It is the greatest expectation of the masses that this is not one of the political statements to garner sympathy ahead of the 2019 elections.”
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