Chineme Okafor in Abuja
The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has granted certificate of ‘no objection’ to 121 metering firms to procure and install electrical meters to yet-to-be metered power consumers in Nigeria through its Meter Assets Providers (MAP) scheme, THISDAY has learnt.
This was disclosed in a recent document on the MAP released by the NERC in Abuja, and in which 121 firms were approved by the NERC to participate in the third-party meter finance and installation scheme.
According to the document, the number of participants in the MAP scheme has continued to rise, from 115 private firms the NERC approved in late in 2018 to participate in procuring and installing meters to electricity consumers in Nigeria, to now 121.
Recently, NERC disclosed that six in every 10 users of grid generated electricity supplied by the 11 electricity distribution companies (Discos) in Nigeria have remained without meter.
It stated that the non-availability of meters to this number of power users was sustaining the Discos’ practice of estimated billing and indicated it was about to introduce a regulation to cap estimated bills given every month to consumers by the Discos.
It equally noted that in the regulation which it has called for stakeholders’ input, consumers who reject meters installed at their premises by Discos would be cut off from electricity supply.
In the consultation paper on capping of estimated bills posted on NERC’s website, the commission said the 11 Discos with a customer base of 8,292,840, have been able to provide meters for just 3,591,168, while 4,701,672 have not been unmetered as at August 2018.
NERC explained that the percentage of unmetered customers was 57, adding that the practice of estimated billing by the Discos have resulted in payment apathy. It stated that in order to cap estimated billing by Discos, it was considering options such as a cap on estimated billing based on the projected average monthly consumption of each tariff class in the Multi Year Tariff Order (MYTO) model; application of the average consumption of each tariff class within a franchise area as the cap for estimated billing of unmetered customers; and capping the estimated bill of consumers within a business unit to the average vending of the same tariff class within the area.
Similarly, in a new schedule of ‘no objection’ on the MAP it recently released, the commission had stated that 121 firms have had their applications to participate in the scheme reviewed and approved.
The firms would participate in the scheme NERC expects would take off from first quarter of 2019. The commission has equally mandated the Discos to conduct fresh enumeration of consumers under their network within the end of March.