The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) recently disclosed that electricity consumers in the country would pay between N36,991.50 and N67,055.85 for installation and maintenance of electricity meters in their premises by approved third-party meter providers of the distribution companies (Discos). The arrangement, which comes under the Meter Asset Providers (MAPs) scheme, will ensure massive deployment of meters to electricity consumers across the country. The project is expected to close the huge metering gap and reduce the estimated billing practice. According to the General Manager, Public Affairs of NERC, Dr. Usman Arabi, the commission had issued MAPs permits to successful agents for Abuja and Jos Discos.
Under the arrangement, MAPs are expected to charge a maximum of N36,991.50 for single phase meters and N67,055.85 for three phase meters. According to NERC, these costs also cover supply, installation, maintenance and replacement of meters. The rollout of meters is expected to commence not later than May 1. We welcome the new resolve of the NERC and the Discos to provide prepaid meters to electricity consumers in the country. It is hoped that the scheme will be faithfully implemented. We also believe that if the meters are made available, consumers will pay for their power needs without being prompted to do so. However, it is worth pointing out that the challenge of the power sector goes beyond the provision of prepaid meters.
What most power consumers in the country need is steady supply of electricity. Nigerians are tired of epileptic power supply. Now that NERC and the Discos are working together to provide meters, they should strive to ensure steady power supply. It is sad that since the privitisation of the power sector and the subsequent unbundling of the distribution function of the Power Holding Corporation of Nigeria (PHCN) into about 18 distribution companies (Discos), the power supply in the country has not significantly improved. This is the problem that the Discos must tackle frontally.