The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) reports a rise in the number of electricity consumers on estimated billing to over 7.8 million, up from approximately 6 million in 2021. In its recently released Q1 2022 report, NERC also disclosed Nigeria’s estimated earnings of N4.4 billion from electricity exports in a three-month period.
The NERC reports that only 37.79% of the 12,542,581 registered energy customers as of March 2022 have meters, leaving 7,802,467 customers with unmetered electricity bills. The large gap in metering remains a challenge in the industry. During 2022 Q1, 85,510 meters were installed compared to 79,978 in 2021 Q4, but the quarterly meter installations have been decreasing due to the ending of the National Mass Metering Programme phase 0.
“By comparison, the net metering rate dropped from 45.40 per cent metering as at December 2021 to 37.79 per cent in March 2022. This can be explained by the constant updating of Discos (distribution companies) customer base information as a result of ongoing customer enumeration.”
The NERC continues to engage stakeholders to increase the metering rate. It has also instituted safeguards against over-billing unmetered customers by setting maximum billing limits. The Federal Government plans to deploy 6 million meters nationwide in Q1 and Q2 of 2023 to reduce the number of unmetered electricity consumers in Nigeria, according to a December 2022 review of the power sector’s performance.
“We are perfecting plans for an additional six million meters under the second and third phases of the (NMMP) programme that will commence in the first and second quarters of 2023 respectively,” the Minister, Abubakar Aliyu, affirmed in the document.
According to the NERC’s latest quarterly report, Nigeria earned $9.98 million (N4.4 billion at the exchange rate of N440/$) from electricity exports during the 3-month review period. In Q1 2022, no remittance was made by Ajaokuta Steel Company for invoices of N391.65m and N69.45m, issued by Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading Plc and Power Market Operator.
However, bilateral customers Paras-SBEE, Transcorp-SBEE, and Mainstream-NIGERLEC each remitted 100% of the invoices ($2.72m, $2.74m, and $4.52m respectively) they received from the Power Market Operator. Odukpani-CEET received an invoice of $3.42m but made no payment, requiring MO and NBET to activate safeguards for remittance shortfalls.