NERC Deregulates Electricity Market for Meter Asset Providers

Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja

The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) yesterday officially deregulated the market for Meter Asset Providers (MAP), stressing that it will henceforth be subjected to competitive market forces.

In an instrument marked NERC/2024/O40 cited as the “Order on Deregulation of Meter Prices for Meters Deployed Under the Meter Asset Provider Scheme”, the regulatory agency stated that single phase had earlier been raised from N58,661 .69 to N81,975.16, while the three-phase devices were hiked from N109,684.36 to N143,836.10.

The Order was signed by the NERC Chairman, Sanusi Garba and the Commissioner in charge of Legal, Licensing and Compliance, Dafe Akpeneye.

NERC added that any Disco that intends to procure meters from sources other than the MAP and National Mass Metering Programme (NMMP) framework, the licensee shall obtain the commission’s approval.

In addition , it stated that they shall ensure that the meter cost is within approved regulated pricing and guarantee that the procurement terms are not in conflict with terms of existing MAP and NMMP contracts.

It stressed that operators have now requested a further review of meter prices in consideration of significant changes in NGN/USD foreign exchange rate and inflation rate since the last price review in September 2023.

According to the power sector regulator, the significant changes in the macroeconomic variables has constrained their ability to supply meters at the approved regulated price.

“The commission has noted the need for the efficient pricing of meters to respond more quickly to changes in macroeconomic parameters, particularly exchange rates.

“The commission has further taken cognisance of the constraints/challenges faced by MAPs and LMMAs and therefore approved the deregulation of prices of meters deployed under the MAP scheme with effect from  May 1, 2024.

“With effect from May 1, 2024, all prices of meters under the MAP scheme shall be determined through a competitive bidding process with customers provided with a choice of authorised vendors,” it added.

It noted that the cost of prices of meters deployed under the MAP scheme is hereby deregulated to enable end-use customers acquire meters from MAPs of their choice based on competitive open market prices determined from transparent bidding frameworks.

According to NERC, all Discos shall ensure the effective and seamless integration of smart meters deployed by MAPs with the Disco’s head-end systems and meter data management systems.

“All Discos shall provide a publicly accessible online portal on their website where prospective MAPs can view the Disco’s technical specifications and commercial terms for participation as a MAP within its network area,” it stressed.

While all Discos are required to conduct a thorough test and confirmation of specifications for new meters proposed by a prospective MAP and concluded no later than 20 working days, NERC stated that where a meter fails the confirmation test, the Disco shall immediately notify the MAP stating the points of failure.

 The pricing of meters under the MAP scheme, it said, is thence deregulated but subject to an open transparent competition amongst MAP permit holders.

The commission said all MAP permit holders wishing to participate in each competitive bidding cycle shall, no later than five days prior to the commencement of the process, provide verifiable evidence confirming the availability of a minimum stock of 2,000 units of meters.

“This is a mandatory eligibility requirement for participation in the bidding process,” it explained.

All DisCos, it said, shall, at the end of each month, file with the commission a return showing the meter supply and installation performance of each MAP for the month.

According to NERC, the Order is issued without prejudice to existing obligations and commitments of Discos to existing MAPs.

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