The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, on Monday received ministerial directive to ensure the process to issue metering regulations for the country’s electricity sector was completed before the end of this month.
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Tunde Fashola, who gave the directive in his office in Abuja, said issuing the metering regulations by November ending would expedite action on licensing of meter suppliers.
The Minister gave the directive when the management of the electricity sector regulatory agency, led by its Vice Chairman, Sanusi Garba, presented the approved “Eligible Customer Regulations 2017” in his office.
The supply of meters has remained a knotty issue in the industry, with most electricity consumers still unable to get prepaid meters several months after they made payments.
The Eligibility customer regulations provide for standard rules to facilitate competition among industry players in the supply of electricity; expansion of power generation capacity, and improved quality of electricity supply in the country.
The regulations, which are in line with Section 27 of the Electric Power Sector Reform EPSR Act, 2005, would also encourage opening up of third party access to electricity transmission and distribution infrastructure towards full retail competition in the market.
Mr. Fashola, who described the new regulation as important for the growth of the power sector, said it would improve the capacity of electricity distribution to consumers, particularly those willing to make investments in distribution assets that would enable them recover their cost.
“The new regulation followed a process of consultation with all interest groups, including DISCOs, GENCOs and consumers, who would be affected by the potential revenue impact and distribution access.
“But. the regulation everyone is waiting for is on metering. I hope in a couple of days, you will come up with that. It will be a good thing if you can complete that before this month is over and see how quickly that can stimulate licensing of meter suppliers and ultimately other aspects in the value chain,” the minister said
On May 15, the Minister issued a policy directive to NERC declaring four categories of eligible customers in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry, NESI in accordance with Section 27 of the EPSR Act.
Under the new regulation, the Minister said categories of customers who can buy power directly from the Generation Companies, GENCOs, include end-users whose consumption is no less than 2MWhr/h, and are connected to a metered 11kV or 33kV delivery point on the distribution network, subject to a distribution use of system agreement for the delivery of electrical energy.
The others are those connected to a metered 132kV or 330kV delivery point on the transmission network under a transmission use of system agreement for connection and delivery of energy, and consumers in excess of 2MWhr/h on monthly basis and connected directly to a metered 33kV delivery point on the transmission network, under a transmission use of system agreement.
Customers in this category must enter into bilateral agreement with the distribution licensee licensed to operate in the location, for the construction, installation and operation of a distribution system for connection to the 33kV delivery point.
The other category cover those with minimum consumption of more than 2MW/h over a period of one month and directly connected to the metering facility of a generation company.
Before presenting the new law to the minister, the NERC boss said following the declaration of the four categories of ‘eligible customers’, a committee was constituted to consult with various interest groups in the country’s six geo-political zones, namely Lagos, Kano, Yola, Jos, Port Harcourt and Enugu.
The consultation, which culminated in the review of inputs from GENCOs, DISCOs and consumer groups, led to the regulation, with technical and advisory support from USAID based experiences from other emerging economies in the eligible customers.
Following the conclusion of consultations, Mr. Garba said NERC approved the new regulation on November 1 for presentation to the Minister.