- Power consumers in Nigeria have left an enormous debt to electricity distribution companies.
- Aside from the debt, over a million customers laid complaints of different sorts with NERC
- According to NERC report, more than 12 million customers in Nigeria have been metered
Legit.ng journalist Victor Enengedi has over a decade's experience covering Energy, MSMEs, Technology and the stock market.
Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission has received over 1 million complaints from electricity consumers, even though they owed electricity distribution customers (DisCos) N343.50 billion in 2022.
NERC disclosed this in its recently released 2022 annual report and financial statements, offering a comprehensive overview of its operations, financial resources, and assets.
The report highlighted significant projects within the industry while underscoring NERC's struggles with outstanding electricity bill payments.
It would be recalled that in the second quarter of 2023, NERC granted new licenses and permits to numerous organizations.
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Electricity consumers owed DisCos N343.50 billion
As per the report, in 2022, the electricity distribution companies (DisCos) billed consumers a total of N1.185 trillion.
However, only N841.81 billion was successfully collected, resulting in an outstanding balance of N343.50 billion.
NERC noted that this equates to a 71.02% bill collection efficiency by DisCos.
Collection efficiency is the proportion of the billed amount collected from customers compared to the total amount billed by DisCos.
According to the report, this equates to a collection efficiency of 71.02%, indicating that out of every N100.00 worth of energy billed to customers by DisCos in 2022, approximately N28.98 remained unrecovered from customers.
The report noted:
The low collection efficiency combined with billing inefficiency has continued to adversely impact the financial liquidity of the industry, ultimately limiting the NESI's ability to grow and attract investment"
Nonetheless, in the previous year, the regulatory body reported the collection of N775.33 billion out of a total of N1.116 billion in recorded billings.
The report also noted that the industry's financial health is further evaluated through the market settlement rate between DisCos and special customers to Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading (NBET) and market operator (MO).
Over 1 million customer complaints received
In 2023, NERC reported that all the DisCos received 1,002,998 consumer complaints.
This represents a 5.78% increase compared to the 948,172 complaints received in 2021, as highlighted by the commission.
According to NERC, an analysis of the customer complaints data revealed that the leading categories of customer complaints in 2022 were related to metering, billing, and service interruptions, accounting for 74.03% (742,519) of the total complaints.
The report stated:
The DisCos collectively resolved 927,722 complaints representing a 92.49% average resolution rate.
With the exception of Enugu(89.05%), Ibadan, (83.53%) and Ikeja (86.04), all other DisCos reported above 90% complaint resolution rate in 2022.
The report also disclosed that the total number of registered customers as of December 2022 was 12,152,106 - with 5,134,871 (42.25%) of them metered.
It also noted that there was a decline in the stability of the grid network in 2022 as the number of total system collapses (total blackouts nationwide) increased relative to 2021.
The report further revealed that, as of December, the total number of registered customers amounted to 12,152,106, with 5,134,871 of them (42.25%) having meters installed.
Additionally, it highlighted a decline in the grid network's stability in 2022, with an increase in the total number of system collapses (resulting in nationwide blackouts) compared to 2021.
FG Pays N135bn Electricity Subsidy to DisCos, Others to Stop Tariff Increase
This financial injection aimed to bridge the revenue shortfall within the power sector during that quarter.
The N135.2 billion provided by the government reflects a substantial increase of N99.21 billion, marking a 275% surge compared to the N36 billion disbursed in the first quarter of 2023, as reported by NERC.