The Consumer Affairs Commissioner of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, Dr Moses Arigu, has identified low metering as a factor responsible for estimated billing by electricity distribution companies.
Arigu stated this at the inauguration of the customer complaints forum office in Osogbo, the Osun State capital.
He said the bulk of the complaints by consumers in Osogbo and its environs were on estimated billing and high voltage, saying the inauguration of the complaint forum office would enhance a better relationship between consumers and Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company, which is in charge of distribution in the area.
Arigu said IBEDC received 1,275 complaints from consumers in the area between January and September 2018, stressing that most of them were about estimated billing and high voltage issues.
He said, “The commission notes the recurring complaints on estimated billing, which is mainly due to the low metering status in the sector.
“It is for this purpose that the commission has introduced measures to accelerate metering through the Meter Asset Provider Regulation of 2018 and very close monitoring of electricity distribution companies’ roll-out plan.
“The present metering gap in Ibadan Disco alone is about a million when compared to its total customer size of over 1.6 million customers; this represents a 60 per cent deficit in metering.”
The Chief Operating Officer, IBEDC, Mr John Ayodele, said the commission had introduced measures for the punishment of incessant breaches by customers who engaged in unauthorised access to electricity, tampering and bypassing of meters.
He said energy theft remained an offence, adding that the company would not condone it.
He pleaded with stakeholders not to take the laws into their hands by being hostile to IBEDC officials.
He warned against in illegal connections and vandalism of electricity installations while urging them to make formal complaints about the resolution of whatever issues they might have.
The Governor, Osun State, Mr Rauf Aregbesola, who was represented by the Commissioner for Works, Mr Kazeem Salami, said one of the challenges facing the state government was vandalism.