Metering: Reps Pass Bill To Criminalise Estimated Billing

House of Representatives on Thursday passed a bill which seeks to prohibit and criminalize imposition of estimated billing by the electricity distribution companies (DISCOs).

The lawmakers stressed the need for the DISCOs to compulsorily provide and install prepaid meters to all electricity consumers across the country.

In his speech Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila, who sponsored the bill, stated that estimated billing is a practice that is unlawful and highly fraudulent.
He added that the excuse of the unavailability of electricity meters causing the estimated billing practice should be unacceptable to a people-sensitive House.

He said Nigeria is the only country where electricity consumers are made to pay for the service through estimated billing. He described the situation as shameful.

The Speaker said the estimated billing being used by electricity distribution companies (DisCos) was the biggest fraud in the history of the country.

When the proposed law is consequentially passed by the Senate and is assented to by the President, it will become criminal for service providers to issue estimated bills. Issuance of which would attract either a one-year jail term or a fine of N1m or both.

The proposed law would also compel a distribution company to provide prepaid meter to an applicant within 30 days, while barring the DISCOs from disconnecting the consumer after the 30-day period within which meter should be installed.

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