By Emman Ovuakporie
Members of the House of Representatives on Thursday endorsed a bill for an act to amend the electric power reform act to prohibit and criminalise estimated billing by the electricity distribution companies.
The House had passed the Bill in the eighth national assembly but was recently reintroduced after the senate failed to concur.
If it finally becomes law it aims to criminalise estimated billing and make the installation of prepaid meters compulsory for all power consumers in Nigeria.
Bill estimation is a standard practice used by power providers when an actual meter reading is not available for billing purposes.
Femi Gbajabiamila, sponsor of the bill and speaker of the house, had said it was not justifiable to continuously charge consumers for power not consumed.
He had also warned that the green chamber will not allow electricity providers extort Nigerians through estimated billing.
Recall that stakeholders in the power sector kicked against the bill at a recent public hearing.
Babatunde Fashola, Minister of Power, works and housing, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and the Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors (ANED) had opposed the bill.
According to the stakeholders, the bill will worsen the electricity situation in the country.
Fashola had said the bill could crumble the electricity sector, noting that the financial challenges of metering must first be addressed.
The minister had said: “I take it that we all know what is core mandate. Their(DisCos) core mandate is to supply energy. My view is that let new players be licensed to have the supply of meters as their core mandate to take the load off the DisCos.