The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has been directed by the Federal Government to allow customers buy pre-paid meters. This may entail NERC restoring the regulation that earlier gave electricity consumers to purchase prepaid meters approved by the relevant parties.
At the recent third edition of the National Council on Power, the council suggested to the FG to order NERC to reinstate regulations permitting willing customers to purchase meters from approved meter vendors as approved by the distribution companies and the Nigeria Electricity Management Services Agency with a framework to reimburse such customers in cash or energy.
The council was presided over by the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, and supported by the Minister of State for Power, Works, and Housing, Mr. Suleiman Hassan and was attended by council members from 27 states of the federation.
At the end of the meeting, the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, on Thursday said the FG agreed with the council on the reinstatement of the Credited Advance Payment for Metering Implementation (CAPMI) introduced by NERC in 2013, but stopped in 2016.
September last year, NERC directed the 11 electricity distribution companies operating in the country to formally wind down the alternative meter financing scheme on or before November 1, 2016.
The council worked with a report detailing the observations, and recommendations made by the working/technical committees and gave directives for implementation procedure as outlined below.
- NERC to reinstate regulations permitting willing customers to purchase meters from approved meter vendors as approved by the distribution companies and the Nigeria Electricity Management Services Agency with a framework to reimburse such customers in cash or energy.
- NERC to issue a regulation that enables third-party meter providers to install and manage customers’ meters, provided that such third parties are certified by NEMSA and approved by the Discos based on available metering standards.
- NERC is to provide a framework for compensating the investment made by meter service providers in cash or shares in the Discos,” a part of the communiqué issued by the government yesterday in Abuja stressed.
It was also agreed that NERC should commence an aggressive multi-platform public awareness programme that would reach as many customers as possible and explain all policies and regulations and obligations related to metering.
It further directed NERC to enforce on the Discos the policy directive that any unmetered customer was obligated to pay only the last undisputed bill, adding that if the customer remained unmetered, the last undisputed bill should be discounted by 15 percent in each subsequent year that the customer remained unmetered provided that the failure to meter the customer was the fault of the Disco.
The council noted that in areas where distribution infrastructure was non-existent, NERC should franchise the opportunity to provide services to interested investors, including states and local governments through regulations such as the mini-grid regulations.
“In areas where customers are dissatisfied with the services they are currently enjoying, NERC regulations should give customers the option of contracting better services from service providers and generation companies through policies like the eligible customers regulation and mini-grids using varieties of generation technologies; obtaining better services by compelling Discos to appoint retail agents; and obtaining better services by compelling the Discos to relinquish their franchise to capable investors/service providers,” the communiqué further said.