Some electricity consumers in Lagos have urged the National Assembly to pass the bill criminalising estimated billing by Distribution Companies (DISCOs).
They told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in separate interviews in Lagos on Wednesday that the issuance of estimated bills to unmetered customers was criminal.
According to them, DISCOs are feeding fat on unmetered customers through estimated billing.
Chief Ade-Owas Owabumuwa, the President General, Amuwo Odofin Landlords and Residents Association, Mile 2, Lagos said the NASS should as a matter of urgency pass a bill to curb the excesses of DISCOs.
According to him, estimated billing is killing consumers and that the DISCOs are using it to exploit customers.
“We have protested to Ikeja Electric offices here in Amuwo and Ikeja so that they can stop this estimated billing method and give us prepaid meters but they continued to promise us.
“They kept on increasing the bills monthly and if customers complain, they will threaten to cut your power supply from the pole.
“We are tired of estimated billing, how can Ikeja Electric install a meter on transformer and use the reading from the meter to bill all customers in a community, this is unjustifiable.
“A widow who stays in a room self contain pays N12, 000 while a man with his family of five who lives in a three-bed room flat using all electrical appliances pays the same amount.
“Whether there is electricity supply or not, the monthly bill is always on the high side. Enough is enough, this billing must stop now,” he said.
Alhaji Nurudeen Muritala, the Chairman, Ebute-Meta Landlords’ Association, said he had applied for prepaid meter for his house since 2014, five months after the privatisation of the sector.
Muritala said DISCOs preferred estimated billing to distribution of functional meters because they are using the method to exploit consumers.
“While some customers using prepaid meters within the area are spending N3,000 on energy monthly, we on analogue meters pay up to N25,000 monthly.
“This is fraud, we enjoin our legislators not to fold their hands while these DISCOs exploit us,” he said.
Mr Innocent Okorie, a resident of Ikosi Ketu accused DISCOs of billing customers arbitrarily with the estimated billing system.
According to Okorie, he was away for six months and before going, he explained to staff of Ikeja Electric that covers the area that they should stop electricity to his flat electricity for six months.
“I was surprised when I returned after six months, bills amounting to N120,000 were waiting for me for energy not consumed.
“The Ikeja Electric marketing officer covering my area has been moved to another area, I made several efforts at their Somolu Business Unit to complain but my supply was disconnected.
“I was made to pay for what I did not consume and that is the evil of estimated billing,” he said.
He, therefore, urged the NASS to criminalise estimated billing so that DISCOs would concentrate on the installation of prepaid meters.
The National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) on April 20 warned that there would be chaos in the power sector if the NASS criminalised estimated billing.
According to NERC, a regulation that deals with estimated billing already exists in the power sector, stressing that another law on the matter may lead to a complete disorder in the industry.
The House of Representatives recently commenced moves to outlaw estimated billing of consumers by DISCOs.
The presentation of a bill was sponsored by the House Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila, which sought to prohibit the issuance of such bills to consumers across the country.