Considering the challenges that Discos face in Nigeria, in which, out of about seven million registered consumers, about five million consumers among the 11 distribution networks in the Nigeria’s electricity market do not have meters installed at their consumption points mostly because the Discos have not invested enough to bridge the gap.
The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) recently stated it was considering other approaches to improve the metering obligations of Discos to their customers, thus eradicating the system of estimated billing.
According to a document the commission posted on its website, there are three options under consideration and these are;
- Meter Service Providers (MSP) Scheme
It stated that the MSP would own the metering infrastructure on a lease basis including replacement of faulty and obsolete meters, but will also enter into medium to long term meter service agreements with Discos which would then integrate in their vending systems provisions that allow MSPs to get deductions from customers’ vending.
- Modified Credited Advance Payment for Metering Implementation (CAPMI)
It stated that there would be a modification of the CAPMI mechanism, which was jettisoned before because of Disco’s failure to comprehensively respect the terms of their engagements with customers.
It further explained that the scheme would be modified to have shrewd transparency in monitoring payment made by customers as well as input measures to guard against delays in meter installation and making of refunds to consumers for the investments.
- Franchising in rural and urban settlements.
It stated that Disco’s would be allowed to enter franchise agreements with agents, who will retail electricity at an agreed discount to consumers but in line with NERC’s regulations, codes and metering requirements.
Electricity sold within this arrangement is, however,expected to be bulk metered by Disco’s at designated injection points, while agents check meters for internal energy accounting.
It also stated that this option has benefits that included faster meter roll-out, cost-efficiency, and ease of revenue collection in designated locations, as well as being less prone to the incidence of theft.
NERC stated that while these new metering options are largely expected to help the Disco’s achieve a comprehensive metering of consumers under their networks, safeguard their revenues and energy as well as end the abused practices of estimated billings. However, these methods will not be adopted for implementation outside of existing metering strategies adopted and being implemented by the Discos, indicating that these three would serve to amplify efforts of Discos in closing their metering gaps as well as provide assurance to consumers that an end to estimated billing is in near sight.