Electricity Consumers Groan As Meter Roll-out Faces Fresh Delay – Punch

Electricity consumers in the country have expressed disappointment as meter roll-out under the Meter Asset Provider scheme failed to kick off on May 1, more than one year after the initiative was introduced by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission. The MAP Regulation was unveiled in March last year, with the aim of fast-tracking the roll-out of meters through the engagement of third-party investors for the financing, procurement, supply, installation and maintenance of electricity meters. It introduced a new set of service providers in the power sector, called meter asset providers, to assist the distribution companies in bridging the huge metering gap in the Nigerian electricity supply industry.

According to the regulation, the distribution licensees (Discos) and the MAPs shall enter into a metering service agreement, which shall provide for the number of meters to be installed in the distribution licensee’s network over an agreed period and the recovery of the cost of meter asset plus a reasonable return over a period of 10 years, among others. But the procurement process for the MAPs was delayed, with the regulator saying in late March that it was reviewing the MAP procurement reports. NERC said last month(April) that permits had been issued to the MAPs engaged by eight out of the 11 Discos, adding that the roll-out of meters would commence no later than May 1, 2019.

The Discos are Abuja Electricity Distribution Company Plc, Jos Electricity Distribution Company Plc, Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company, Benin Electricity Distribution Company, Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Plc, Yola Electricity Distribution Company Plc, Enugu Electricity Distribution Company Plc, and Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company Plc. “The meter roll-out was supposed to start on May 1, 2019. But it has not. There have been a lot of complaints from our members across the country. They complained that even the meters that were paid for before now have not been given to them,” the President, Electricity Consumers Association of Nigeria, Mr Chijioke James, said on Wednesday.

He said, “One week into the deadline given by the regulator, the situation seems not to have changed. So, it behooves on the regulator to ensure that all stakeholders comply with that regulation. It ought not just to bark, but also bite; that way, we can have sanity in the sector. “Our take is that the regulator should wake up and hold the power distributors accountable to the consumers. Consumers are beginning to lose confidence in both the regulator and the Discos. Not until we see improved services, we are not going to take the regular and the Discos seriously.” James noted that the consumers had over the years expressed readiness to pay for meters.

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