The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) says over four millions electricity consumers are yet to get prepaid meters in the country.
Dr Anthony Aka, Acting Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, NERC, disclosed this in an interview with our correspondent in Uyo on Saturday.
Aka said although the commission had improved on the system; unavailability of company manufacturing the device was hindering maximum provision of meter to Nigerians.
“You have to order them, you have to configured them and protect the system, you have to deploy the technical expertise to ensure that these meters are not bye pass but as we speak today, these meters are being bye passed,’’ he said.
He said that the commission would sanction Electricity Distribution Company, which does not comply with directives to distribute prepaid meters.
“It is our responsibility to ensure the compliance.
“We have our monitoring team following them and we want to make sure that if they do not deploy the number of meter per month, per quarter or per year, we are going to sanction them.
“The customer that do not have electricity meter and who feels that they gave him a wrongful billing in a month that he did not incur has the right to reject that bill.
“The consumer should only pay the last bill he accepted.
“You have to submit that contentious bill to customer redress mechanism by writing to us officially to investigate and find out whether the billings were fairly done.
“If it was fairly done, then you will have to pay that bill and if it was not fairly done, then distribution company in no way, will disconnect you,’’ he said.
Aka said that customer should be provided with meter within 60 days of payment.
“If they do not provide you with meter, electricity distribution company have no right to give you estimated bill,’’ he said.
Aka, however, decried a situation where PHEDC workers were attacked by customers, saying that such act was unacceptable.
“They are doing their legitimate job, and for them to be killed, harmed or interrupted in the course of doing their legitimate jobs, you are not contributing to help solve the problems of electricity in the country,’’ he said.
He said the company was committed to ensuring that electricity consumers were not exploited for electricity they do not consumed.
According to Aka, electricity distribution is private sector driven, and the government only provides regulatory framework and enabling environment.
He noted that fixed charges in electricity billing do not exist again as it had been recalibrated as part of energy charged.
“If there is no electricity, distribution company don’t have right to charge customers.
“We as a regulator listen to Nigerians, we remove the fixed charge and recalibrated it into the energy charge,’’ he said.