The Managing Director of Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC), Ernest Mupwaya said his company has installed 88,000 meters and would install 120,000 units by December 2017 to tackle complaints on estimated billing.
This was made known at a workshop on energy theft for judges within the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
“The issue slowing down metering is funding constraint in the electricity market but we have found a way around it. We have used the vendor financing system to acquire 120,000 meters and if they are deployed and protected from energy theft, we can gain more funding and meter more customers.”
Out of an 800,000 customer base, AEDC has metered 3,800 who are the largest power users and constitutes 50 percent of the revenue collection base, including the governments’ Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs).
To make meters more available, he said the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has proposed a revival of the Credited Advance Payment for Metering Initiative (CAPMI) where customers buy meters at designated shops around the 11 Distribution Companies (DisCos) and have them installed with a refund.
Mupwaya who decried the constraints in getting a cost reflective tariff that will ensure power firms operate optimally said,
“The wholesale (generation) tariff has increased by 100 percent since privatization, on the retail side, the increase is only 16 percent so there is already a big deficit.”
He said while the DisCos seek cost reflective tariff to enable them make more investments including metering, customers would want to be meter first before they would support any tariff increase.
He advised NERC to address the liquidity gap by computing the tariff shortfall into the DisCos’ assets so it could reflect in their balance sheet as projected revenue to be cleared through future tariff review when the electricity market stabilizes.
This would enable lenders to see the DisCos account as positive and give more funding for investment requirement, Mupwaya noted.
Mupwaya says that AEDC has been the first and the highest remitter in the last two years while ensuring that it improves its networks by installing over 200 transformers across Kogi, Abuja, Nasarawa, and Niger states.