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NERC Prof James Momoh

NERC, ANED may clash over programmed delay in metering next month

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Whereas new regulation due from Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) from February is expected to enforce metering for electricity consumers, signals from the umbrella body of electricity distribution companies (DisCos), the Association of Nigerian Electricity Distribution Companies (ANED), indicate lack of readiness for metering every consumer.

ANED’s Director, Research and Advocacy, Sunday Oduntan, in a TV news programme on Monday night said metering consumers had been slow and will continue to be so because institutional issues that must be resolved by NREC, Discos and MAP, but did not give any details on the nature of the issues.

There had been clear criticism against Discos over their official delays in partnering with Meter Access providers (MAP) in delivering meters to Nigerians which analysts see as plot to continue fleecing customers through the current regime of estimated billing.

But in an interview on Tuesday, Chairman of the NERC, Prof. James Momoh, insisted that before any form of tariff increment, every customer must be metered in Nigeria.

According to him, “Failure to do so, we have a backup plan, which is one of our regulations that will be out in about a month, called ‘Clapping’ which is going to put a maximum amount DisCos can charge customers.

He said “For DisCos, it will be an advantage for them to provide meters as this is an attempt to make sure that the win-win customers are metered. We want DisCos to provide them with meters because the minimum we are going to allow them to charge is not going to be to their advantage in the long run.”

On the hard stand of ANED in jerking up tariff in April, Prof Momoh made it clear that “There is no immediate increase in tariff for customers. As a regulator, we have been mandated to review the proposed tariff twice a year. We did the first one around June and we have no other option, but to do our job.

“We have done the review and it is subject to public consultation. In the next three months, the commission will be going from place to place to engage stakeholders for consultation.

“The other is a communication of what we have done to increase or reduce tariff. If at the end of our meetings, we decide that there will be no increase, it will be so. If there will be increase, it will be based on our engagement at the public forums,” he clarified.

A new Minor Review of the Multi-Year Tariff Order (MYTO) 2015 and the Minimum Remittance Order (MRO) for 2020 published by NERC had on Saturday revealed that electricity consumers in Nigeria would pay more tariffs from April this year.

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