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Nigerian power distribution companies overbill 7.1 million unmetered consumers

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An analysis of the latest monthly data on overbilled customers has revealed that power distribution companies in Nigeria overcharged approximately 7.1 million unmetered electricity consumers from January to September 2023, accumulating over N105 billion in revenue, according to reports from the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).

Figures dissected by industry experts show a pattern of overbilling across various distribution companies (Discos), with Yola Disco topping the list by overbilling 42,902 customers to the tune of N541.9 million during the review period. Abuja Disco followed closely, overcharging 1,823,218 customers by N17.9 billion.

Other notable figures include Benin Disco, which overbilled 754,849 customers by N10.5 billion, and Enugu Disco, which overcharged 1,011,402 customers by N11.9 billion. Eko Disco, despite having data available only until June 2023, was found to have overbilled 371,828 customers, accumulating N14.13 billion.

In response to these findings, NERC has declared its intention to deduct N10,505,286,072 from the annual revenues of the 11 Discos during the next tariff review as part of sanctions over their non-compliance with the capping of estimated bills for unmetered customers.

The regulator emphasized the importance of adhering to monthly energy caps and issued a directive for credit adjustments to be issued to overbilled customers by the March 2024 billing cycle. It also mandated Discos to publish the list of credit adjustment beneficiaries in national dailies and on their websites by March 31, 2024.

Consumers nationwide have long voiced concerns over excessively estimated bills, prompting regulatory action. In the third quarter of 2023 alone, NERC received a total of 333,947 complaints related to metering, billing, and service interruption, underscoring the urgent need for reform in Nigeria’s power sector.

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