The 11 Nigerian electricity distribution companies (DisCos) supplied 79,850 prepaid meters in 2018, despite a 4.6 million metering gap in the country.
This is contained in the recently released 2018 fourth quarter power sector report of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
According to the report, the total number of electricity consumers with prepaid meters supplied by the 11 DisCos in the first quarter of 2018 stood at 1,589,805, while it increased to 1,615,066 in the second quarter. By the third quarter, the number rose to 1,653,144, and by the fourth quarter, it totalled 1,669,675 prepaid meters.
In the fourth quarter, Abuja Disco had the highest number of metered customers with 295,641, followed by Benin DisCo with 287,995. Ibadan Disco, with the largest franchise area, came third with 256,804, while Eko DisCo had 161,382.
Ikeja DisCo followed with 160,813, while Enugu and Kaduna DisCos had 141,465 and 139,547 respectively. Port Harcourt DisCo had 67, 172, followed by Kano DisCo with 65, 711. At the bottom of the list are Jos and Yola DisCos with 55, 444 and 37, 702 respectively.
“The power generation statistics for Q4 2018 reflected that a total average of 68,625 MWh of energy was generated daily by thermal power stations while thermal power stations generated an average of 27,913MWh of energy within the same period,” the report stated.
“Thermal stations generated a peak of 80,856 MWh on 20th December, 2018 while the hydro stations attained a peak of 32,681 MWh on the 21st of October, 2018 . However, the lowest daily energy generation of 44,367 MWh was attained by thermal stations on 29th of October 2018 while the lowest daily energy generation of 21,457 MWh was attained by hydro stations on 21st of December 2018.
“Total number of consumers with prepaid meters increased by 1.00% to 1.67m customers in Q4 2018 from 1.65m customers in Q3 2018.”
Meanwhile, the latest third-quarter report by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) released in January put the metering gap at 4,606,106, adding that only three DisCos — Abuja, Benin and Port Harcourt- had metered more than 50% of their customers as at the end of September 2018.
“Metering gap for end-use customers still remains a key challenge facing the electricity industry. The records of the Commission indicate that, of the 8,310,408 registered electricity customers, only 3,704,302 (about 45%) have been metered as at the end of the third quarter of 2018. Thus, the majority of customers (~ 55%) are still on estimated billing thus contributing to customer apathy towards payment for electricity,” the NERC report said.
11 MONTHS AFTER, CONSUMERS YET TO ENJOY MAP REGULATION
On April 3, 2018, the NERC introduced the meter asset provider (MAP) regulation to new investors in the power sector to fast-track the roll-out of meters through the engagement of third-party investors for the financing, procurement, supply, installation and maintenance of electricity meters. This is expected to reduce incidences of estimated billing to the barest minimum.
The Discos were expected to engage the services of the MAPs within 120 days from the effective date to achieve a three-year metering target prescribed by NERC.
On Monday, the commission updated the list of firms granted ‘no objection’ to 121 companies. However, the process of procuring the MAPs has not been concluded by the Discos 11 months after — an act most observers in the sector describe as a sabotage of the new regulation.
Attempts to reach Dafe Akpeneye, NERC’s commissioner for legal licensing and compliance, to ascertain the present state of the regulation, when it will eventually kick off and the level of compliance by DisCos have proven futile, as calls and messages sent to his phone were not replied.