Discos’ cold feet frustrating MAPs, consumers’ seriousness in accessing meters
Contrary to the well publicised announcement by the Federal Government through the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) that access to prepaid meters will begin effective May 1, barely two weeks, logistics problems linked to Discos are frustrating the exercise.
In the said announcement, NERC made it clear that while electricity consumers’ going for one-phase meters will pay about N37,000, those on three-phase will pay N70,000 and that electricity consumers should apply for meters through their Discos who should liaise with their accredited partnering Meter Access Providers (MAPs).
However, fact checks conducted by the Electricity Consumers Association of Nigeria (ECAN), a pressure group, showed that Nigerian electricity consumers seeking meters were disappointed on the lack of seriousness so far displayed by Discos, an indication that Discos prefer bleeding consumers vide estimated billing than driving service delivery transparency using prepaid meters.
In an interview, ECAN president, Mr. Chijioke James, said “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.”
Business Hilights recalls that NERC introduced MAP Regulation was unveiled in March 2018, 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.
The regulation further provides that 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 had noted in April that permits had been issued to the MAPs engaged by eight out of the 11 Discos, adding that the rollout 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.
Checks at several Discos outlets on Thursday showed that activities on meter access do not really exist even as many staff of Discos were seen being serious in distribution May estimated bills to customers.