Nigerians may pay more for meter as NERC deregulates prices

THE Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has commenced the deregulation of meter prices under the Meter Asset Provider (MAP) Scheme for end-user customers, citing fluctuating exchange rate concerns.

This development will lead to consumers possibly paying a higher amount to access their meter since the price has been unbundled and not fixed.

The MAP scheme enables Electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) to close metering gaps in their franchise areas by engaging a third-party meter provider that supplies pre-paid meters to customers.


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This is contained in a circular issued by the commission on Monday, April 29, signed by its chairman, Sanusi Garba, and Commissioner of Legal, Licensing, and Compliance, Dafe Akpeneye.

The new order will introduce a competitive bidding process effective May 1, allowing customers to choose from various authorized vendors. This will mark a significant shift from the previously regulated pricing structure.

The commission said this is to enable end-use electricity customers to acquire meters from MAPs of their choice based on competitive open market prices.

The implication is that customers paying CAP prices of N81,975.16 and N143,836.16 for single and three-phase meters will have to pay more at a price determined by the meter providers.

“The cost of prices of meters deployed under the MAP scheme is hereby deregulated to enable end-use customers to acquire meters from MAPs of their choice based on competitive open market prices determined from transparent bidding frameworks,” the commission stated.

“All MAP permit holders are subsequently eligible to provide services and transact for the provision of meters and metering services with any Disco in the Federal Republic of Nigeria with their existing permit.”

According to the NERC’s latest order, all meter prices within the MAP scheme will be determined through competitive bidding.

This move is expected to foster transparency, as customers will be free to select their preferred meter providers among those authorised under the scheme.

The deregulation lifts previous restrictions, allowing all MAP permit holders to provide services across all DisCos in Nigeria, provided they meet specific requirements.

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According to NERC, DisCos are mandated to ensure that smart meters provided by MAPs are seamlessly integrated into their head-end systems and meter data management systems.

Furthermore, they must provide a publicly accessible online portal displaying their technical specifications and commercial terms for MAP participation. This ensures a standardised approach to meter installation and function across the board.

More so, a thorough testing and confirmation process for new meters has been outlined, with DisCos required to complete these evaluations within 20 working days from when a MAP meets all specified requirements. Meters that fail the confirmation test must be promptly reported to the MAP with details on the failure points.

The deregulation also introduces flexibility in the types of meters available under the MAP scheme.




     

     

    While deregulating meter prices, the NERC will oversee the submission of price offers from MAPs to ensure fair competition.

    This includes a requirement for MAPs to hold a minimum stock of 2,000 units of meters as an eligibility criterion for participation in the bidding process.

    End-use customers now have the sole right to choose their preferred MAP and meter types, which align with their specific energy needs.

    This development is expected to stop distribution companies’ arbitrary billing of consumers and address the metering problems for millions of customers in the country.

     

     

     

     

    Harrison Edeh is a journalist with the International Centre for Investigative Reporting, always determined to drive advocacy for good governance through holding public officials and businesses accountable.

    Join the ICIR WhatsApp channel for in-depth reports on the economy, politics and governance, and investigative reports.

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