Amid a campaign by power sector operators urging the Federal Government to terminate electricity tariff subsidies, more than seven million customers are still without electricity meters.
Without meters customers are unable to manage their energy consumption and exposes them to estimated bills from electricity distribution companies, also known as DisCos.
Latest data from the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, showed that as at 30th September 2023, there were 12,825,005 registered electricity customers in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry, NESI, out of which only 5,707,838 (44.51 percent) are metered.
NERC in its third quarter 2023 report, disclosed that 148,389 end-user customers were metered during the period with Ikeja, Abuja and Ibadan DisCos having the highest number of meter installations in 2023/Q3 accounting for 27.35 percent, 20.78 percent and 17.53 percent respectively of the total installations.
With the industry underperforming and in serious financial difficulties, the Commission disclosed that subsidies payable by government to the sector will top N600 billion by the end of the year, according to the Vanguard.
The Commission also projected that in the absence of cost reflective tariff, electricity subsidies will hit N1.6 trillion in 2024.
Reacting to the financial state of the industry, the Convener and Executive Director, PowerUp Nigeria, Mr. Adetayo Adegbemle said the government cannot sustain the payments of electricity subsidies.
Odegbemle in a note to Vanguard explained that historically, “the Nigerian Government has been paying electricity subsidies to the Nigeria Electricity Supply Industry. This means that there is the Cost Reflective Tariff of supplying 1kWh (kilowatt hour), and the allowed tariff that consumers are “allowed” to pay. This variance, otherwise called “subsidy” has now turned into an elephant in the chinaware shop”.
He noted that with rising inflation and the devaluation of the Naira having a massive impact on existing tariffs after the government ordered a freeze in MYTO review in July, the financial situation in the market was likely going to worsen next year.