Business Hilights
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We’ll end Discos’ customer-metering slipperiness with deadline soon—NERC

Strong indications have emerged revealing that the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, (NERC), may have observed that all the Electricity Distribution Companies (Discos), are deliberately delaying the metering of their customers with prepaid.
Chairman of the federal agency, Prof. James Momoh, who spoke at a workshop on the implementation of the Meter Asset Provider (MAP) regulation, in Lagos, averred that the Commission has come to the painful understanding that Discos are deliberately frustrating government efforts at closing the yawning metering gap in Nigeria.
Though he did not give any reason why Discos indulge in the economic sabotage, industry observers’ had been saying that Discos prefer estimated billings because they make more money from that than prepaid metering. o the
Prof Momoh, who decried that Discos are yet to make good use of the opportunities and procurement of MAP scheme, made it clear that “Since the procurement of MAP on Tuesday, April 3, 2018, none of the DISCOs has taken it up, and that is not good for the system. Currently, the metering gap of Jos, Ikeja Electric, IBEDC, Kaduna DISCOs are 500,000; 323,779; 988,785 and 396,524”.
Besides, NERC added that it has come to its notice that Discos are also low in their disclosure and transparency.
This observation forced NERC boss to call for full cooperation with the auditors, to agree on bankable securitization arrangement, proper planning and clear meter deployment strategy for greater transparency.
According to Momoh, “The commission was assiduously working hard to ensure that all Nigerians are metered before the end of 2020 and I think, before 2020 all Nigerian home will be metered. Let us work with the Discos and MAP providers”.
He added that “There would be sanctions but not at the moment as we are working on a timeline given to Discos metering their customers”.
Already, Business Hilights gathered that the number of companies seeking to become meter asset providers in the Nigeria electricity supply industry has risen to 115, as over 4.7 million electricity customers remain unmetered.
NERC explained in a document that a total of 115 firms had been granted ‘No Objection’ as of November 22, 2018 from 101 on October 17. According to NERC, out of the 8,292,840 registered electricity customers, only 3,591,168(about 43 per cent) had been metered as of the end of August 2018.
Following the recent introduction of the Meter Asset Provider Regulations 2018, the regulator in April invited interested investors to apply for ‘No Objection’ to enable them to participate in the meter procurement process to be conducted by electricity distribution companies. In May, NERC gave its nod to 22 firms as prospective meter asset providers following the introduction of the MAP Regulations.
The MAP regulations, which introduced another class of operators in the power sector called meter asset providers, is expected to eliminate estimated billing practice, attract private investment into the provision of metering services, and close the metering gap through accelerated meter roll-out.
The regulations came into effect on April 3, 2018 and all the 11 Discos are required to commence the procurement process of engaging meter asset providers to serve their service areas in accordance with an approved roll-out plan.
Details of the regulations show that Discos and the MAPs shall enter into a metering service agreement, which shall provide for the number of meters to be installed by MAP 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.