Chineme Okafor in Abuja
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, has directed the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to immediately wind down its alternative metering scheme, the Credited Advance Payment for Metering Initiative (CAPMI), citing instances of contractual distrust between electricity consumers and the 11 electricity distribution companies (Discos) in the country.
Fashola said the scheme must be stopped because the Discos that collected money from their customers to procure and install meters at their homes have mostly failed to do so.
The CAPMI was introduced by NERC in 2014 to help Discos bridge extant gap in electricity meters amongst its consumers. It was planned to help unmetered consumers who could afford new meters, advance funds to the Discos to install meters at their homes and then get rebates in form of electricity units from the Discos.
The Discos have however bungled the scheme with some of them failing to meet up with the terms in the scheme.
NERC in its audit report on the scheme confirmed this.
But Fashola in a recent statement from his media aide in Abuja, Mr. Hakeem Bello, identified the CAPMI as one of the customer service challenges that he needed to resolve immediately.
He, in this regard, said: “You cannot take peoples’ money without providing the service for which they have paid. I was uncomfortable with that.”
The minister then said the ministry of power had ordered that the scheme be wound down so that people could get what they have paid for, saying it is the responsibility of the Discos to provide meters for their consumers.
“We must bring mutual trust in the provision of power and those are some of the emerging issues again and if people have paid for something they deserve to have it and if you can’t do it wind down the scheme.
“Let’s hold you now fully responsible, you have a market tariff, you go and meter. All of these things are happening at our monthly meetings and we are also holding the Discos now to their committed timelines for metering and we are also asking them to file returns,” said the minister.
He also explained on the Discos metering plans: “We ask them ‘who have you metered? We want to see the details if you tell us you have metered xyz.
“This will be an ongoing exercise until we finish, we also need to be fair because if since 1960 that we started public power and we have not metered everybody when our population was not as much as this, do we honestly think this can happen in five months?”
He however noted: “But ultimately this will happen because there is a business end to it and for those who are bringing in the meters they also need to bring in high quality meters because they have a duty to protect both the consumers and the Discos.”