Subscribers to the recently- outlawed Credit Advanced Payment Metering Implementation (CAPMI) scheme should not lose sleep as plans have been made to provide them meters.
Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) Chairman, Dr Anthony Akah, the Managing Director, Electricity Management Services Limited (EMSL), Peter Ewesor and Chairman, MEMCOL Nigeria Limited, a meter manufacturing company, Mr Kola Balogun told The Nation that customers who paid for meters under the prescribed CAMPI would be given meters.
Akah, in a statement made available to The Nation, said the 11 Electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) had been directed by the Commission to provide meters to customers who had made their financial obligations to the scheme and improve installation of meters to their customers, among other obligations.
He said the obligations to customers, including improved power supply, were part of the Performance Agreements (PAs) they (DisCos) signed with NERC, the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE), among others when they were taking over power companies unbundled from defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN).
Akah, in a statement entitled: ‘CAPMI winding down and alternative to customer metering’, said globally, DisCos are tasked with the responsibility of providing meters to customers, and that those in Nigeria cannot be an exception.
The NERC chief said: “It is expected that DisCos would meter all the customers who have so far paid for meters under the CAPMI scheme, and should not collect any form of payments for meters between now and November 1, 2016, when the scheme would cease to exist. Also, there is the need to improve the implementation of the metering rollout plans as contained in the Performance
Agreements signed by all the Electricity Distribution Companies. The plans were a sequel to the approval by the Commission of the Multi-Year Tariff Order (MYTO) 2015, which was designed to cover all the cost required for efficient operations by DisCos.”According to him, the DisCos had performed below expectation since they deployed about 500,000 meters between November 2013 and June 2016. He said the development made the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola to cancel the scheme.
He said audits by the Commission revealed that most electricity customers were not metered 45 days after paying for meters as stipulated by the Performance Agreement, adding that the DisCos were selling meters to customers under the guise of implementing the CAPMI.
Ewesor said subscribers to the scheme would get meters since it was the Federal Government that abolished it.
He said whenever a government discontinued its project, it would cater for the people that had participated in it.
Also, Balogun said it was either the DisCos provided meters to the people who subscribed to the scheme or pay them back. He said the foreign exchange market was unstable, adding that DisCos would either pay the differentials or ask customers to pay it in the event that they discover that the cost of importing meters has gone up relative to the money paid by the subscribers.
Balogun said: “This is business. If the DisCos have paid meter manufacturers abroad and are yet to get the meters, they have every right to collect their money back and pay customers back. The issue of money lying idle with the meter producers abroad while those who own the money (electricity consumers) are unable to get meters does not arise.’’
He urged the government to allow local manufacturers to produce meters for the DisCos to fill the vacuum created by the cancellation of the CAPMI scheme.