NERC gives electricity distribution firms 120 days to engage new meter providers

Electricity Meter
Electricity Meter

The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) on Tuesday gave the 11 electricity distribution companies (DISCOs) 120 days to engage the services of the newly introduced Meter Asset Provider (MAP) to bridge the metering gap in the country’s power sector.

In 2016, NERC said barely three million electricity customers, or 45 per cent of the 7.47 million nationwide have access to pre-paid meters.

The data showed a consumer metering gap of almost five million, which the government and the DISCOs have been struggling to meet without success.

Part of the industry efforts to bridge the metering gap was the introduction of a new meter intervention programme called, ‘Credited Advance Payment for Metering Implementation’ (CAPMI) by the electricity sector regulator in 2012.

Under the CAPMI scheme, customers were expected to self-finance the meter, with the meter cost repaid over a period from their energy charge at 12 percent interest rate per annum.

But, the arrangement appeared not to yield much dividend as most electricity consumers who paid for the meters have to wait for several years without the delivery of their meters by the DISCOs.

NERC said in a ‘Fact Sheet’ obtained by PREMIUM TIMES on Tuesday the latest MAP arrangement, which would become effective on April 3 would provide a final solution to the meter supply needs of electricity consumers.

“That is why NERC has given electricity distribution companies 120 days to engage the MAP service to achieve the 3-year metering targets prescribed by the Commission,” spokesperson of NERC, Usman Arabi, told PREMIUM TIMES.

“The MAP Regulations will eliminate estimated billing and its attendant challenges in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry within three years,” Mr Arabi said.

How MAP will work

NERC approved the MAP regulation to encourage the development, supply, installation and maintenance of independent and competitive end-user meters of meter services in the electricity industry.

In pursuant of local content policy, investors are expected to acquire a minimum of 30 per cent of their metering volume from indigenous meter manufacturers.

The MAP are a new set of service providers in Nigeria Electricity Supply Industry approved by NERC to supply electricity meters with a technically useful life of between 10 and 15 years.

The new regulation provides for third-party financing of meter production and supply, under a permit issued by NERC, with a 10 years period to pay back the cost.

In line with their licensing terms and conditions, the DISCOs are obliged to achieve their metering targets as set by NERC under the new MAP regulation.

The customers are expected to pay for a return on the investment by electricity DISCOs on meters in their networks through the payment for electricity consumed under the current tariff regime.

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NERC said customer classes have been amended under the new regulation to ensure customers only pay for meters when a meter is physically installed in their premises.

Besides, the electricity sector regulator said customers’ bill provided with a meter under the new regulatory framework shall consist energy charge and metering service charge.

However, NERC said the payment of metering service charge would be removed from the customer electricity bill upon the full recovery of the meter asset cost over its 10 to 15 years useful life.

Regardless, the Commission said all faulty meters would be repaired or replaced free of charge within two working days, except where the customer was confirmed to be responsible for the damage.

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