NERC insists on meter reading before bills

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By Gladys Nweke

In a bid to sensitise electricity consumers of their rights, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Committee (NERC) has said electricity distribution companies or Discos should read meters every month before determining actual electricity consumption.

In a guide released on Saturday, the Commission said, “Every distribution company shall obtain, through authorized representatives, an actual reading of all meters in all supply addresses within its area of supply every month, but not later than once in every three (3) months.”

According to the guide, whenever a customer makes a request to a distribution company for a new or additional connection to his premises, the Disco should take measures to fit the meter and connect the power supply within 10 working days of receiving the request, provided that the Disco shall inspect and approve the electrical installation, the Disco agrees to connect the supply, and the customer has paid any approved charges.

This, NERC said, should be applicable where a customer has been provided with an un-metered supply by the distribution company or the customer has a prepayment meter.

On notice of planned supply interruptions, the guide said the Disco should provide the customer with a minimum of three workings days’ notice of the plan whenever a Disco is to discontinue the supply of a customers’ premises in order to undertake planned maintenance to its equipment.

Other points on the guide include:

Meter Disputes:

 When a customer reports a problem to a Disco that would suggest to the Disco that the cause of the problem is that, the electricity used to record usage at the customers’ premises is recording incorrectly, such that an electricity bill is too high or too low compared to normal monthly bills for the same customers or premises and where appropriate, test the meter within three (3) working days of the problem being reported. And if an official reply cannot be given at the time of the visit, it shall be provided within five (5) working days of the visit

Re-connection of Supplies Disconnected for Non Payment: Whenever a customer whose premises has been disconnected by a Disco for non-payment of electricity charges either pays all outstanding charges including reconnection charges or enters into a payment arrangement with the Disco for the outstanding debt and reconnection charges request the reconnection of his electricity supply, the customer shall have his electricity supply reconnected within twenty-four (24) hours.

Re-positioning of a Meter, Whenever a customer requests a Disco to reposition an electricity meter and pays the cost of carrying out the re-positioning, the Disco shall undertake work within five (5) working days of the request; provided that the Disco agrees to the customer’s request to move the meter and the old proposed meter positions remain in the same premises.

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