The 11 Nigerian electricity Distribution Companies (Discos) have responded to allegations that they “manufacture” figures in order to bill customers who are still on the estimated billing platform.
Many Nigerians have been protesting the estimated billing system, claiming that distribution companies do not use logic when sending “crazy bills” to their homes.
However, the Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors (ANED), the Discos’ umbrella body, insisted that estimated billing was scientific, arguing that a system approved by the industry regulator, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Agency (NERC), could not be illegal.
Sunday Oduntan, ANED’s Executive Director for Research and Advocacy, explained in a statement over the weekend that, contrary to misinformation about the nature and purpose of revenue targets Discos give their staff, such targets were typically set based on what customers consumed.
The Discos contended that the allegation that marketers were given revenue targets in order to meet those targets, which allegedly led to extortion of customers by sending them bills that did not accurately reflect their electricity consumption, was false.
“This couldn’t be further from the truth. What is being discussed here are what are correctly referred to as “receivables.” “We’re talking about money owed to the Discos for a service that has already been performed.” This is money earned by the Disco based on the amount of energy consumed.
“Any performance-driven organization ties staff activities and overall operations to targets.” It is a component of any good organization’s model. Discos assign commercial, operational, technical, and even customer service goals to their employees. In our case, the commercial targets are specific and based on what has been consumed.
“Setting goals does not imply conjuring up figures to meet those goals. We go out to get what is owed to us. “That is legal,” the Discos insisted.
They claim that distribution transformers are metered, which aids in determining the value of electricity that passes through the transformer to customers in a given area. “It’s empirical,” it claimed.
According to power distributors, when the amount collected from electricity users is connected.
“We’re simply saying that people should pay us what they owe, and our people are given information about what is owed and by whom.”
“Discos do not make up billing figures at random.” Where a customer or group of customers does not have pre-paid meters, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has developed an approved methodology for calculating estimated bills, which the Discos must follow,” ANED stated.
According to Oduntan, the system ensures that the amount of energy consumed by a specific distribution transformer is paid for by those who use the transformer.
“Estimated billing is scientific, and Nigeria is not alone in using it.” Customers can also dispute their bills. We do more than just bill.
“This has been further regulated by capping estimated billing order 2020,” he added.
Oduntan also addressed customer complaints about bribe-seeking by Discos employees while providing services to customers.
He emphasized that the Discos’ policies remain the same as those of any legal entity doing business in Nigeria that does not tolerate corruption.
According to an ANED spokesman, any customer who requires a legitimate service and is asked to pay a bribe should report the incident as soon as possible to the Discos’ customer service platforms and the regulator’s complaint channels.
“Also, sometimes the people who cause them are the same people who come to complain about them.” We require the assistance of Nigerians.
“Like any other business, the possibility of bad apples looking to take advantage of unsuspecting customers will always exist.” “The information you provide to us will help us significantly in curtailing the activities of such elements,” he said.