Power consumers, DisCos confused over new directive on meter self-help

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Large swaths of the Nigerian population are confused about the recent directive of Babatunde Fashola, minister of Power, Works and Housing, that electricity customers could negotiate with electricity distribution companies (DisCos) over payment for meters while also reiterating that the DisCos are obligated to meter their customers, Business Day reports.

The DisCos are however unclear how the model will work. “There is just so much confusion around the policy of meters by this minister,” said a top official in one of the DisCos who didn’t want to be named. “CAPMI was abolished without any viable alternative, now on one hand he is mandating DisCos to meter their customers and in the same breath telling customers to buy their own meters, how will this work?” asked the source.

The challenge is there has been little monitoring in the past. Huge sums of money paid by electricity consumers for prepaid meters are trapped with the DisCos while consumers languish on futile waiting lists. The angst among electricity customers is even more intense. A phone-in programme on Smooth FM on Wednesday indicates that many Nigerians believe this directive is neither well thought-out nor inspired by public interest and that the lack of clarity on the policy would leave customers at the mercy of the DisCos.