Electricity distribution companies in Nigeria’s power sector Sunday announced that they are no longer tasked with the responsibility of providing meters to power consumers under their networks.
This was revealed at a press briefing in Abuja. It was also disclosed that the newly initiated Meter Assets Provider (MAP) programme of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), using approved third-party operators, will now carry out such duties.
Speaking at the briefing, the Executive Director for Research and Advocacy of the Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors (ANED), Sunday Oduntan, said that NERC’s MAP had assumed the responsibility of providing meters to Nigerians, in which case the Discos no longer hold that primary responsibility.
According to him, the Discos “support anything or programme that will make it possible for Nigerians to have meters,” adding: “We are in support of it but please put on our front doors what belong to us and to others what belongs to them.”
“We are partners and want people to understand now because MAP providers are now in charge of meters that is the facts that Nigerians should understand and I don’t want any politician to start playing politics that it is not, it is MAP and we support MAP.
“The more meters we have in our networks, the better for us because people will for once pay for what they consume. Studies have shown that those who waste electricity are the one who are on estimated bills,” he added.
He said the Discos were equally worried about the move to criminalise estimated billing methodology of the NERC, adding that if that happens, they will most likely deny supply to consumers without meters to avoid going to prison for failing the proposed law.
“The moment you make estimated billing a criminal offence for me as a Disco, you are telling me that if I cannot give you a meter, I should not give you light. So, I cannot go to prison. Let common sense prevail if you are saying it is a criminal offence,” he said.
On the conditions required for electricity supply to become stable in the country, Oduntan said it was necessary for the government to allow for cost-reflective tariff in the sector, provide financial subsidies for people who may not be able to pay the right tariff, and create regulatory assets scheme for the Discos.
Claiming that NERC has failed to undertake a review of its tariff since 2016 to allow for a tariff that is cost-efficient, Oduntan said that the financial shortfall from this was now in excess of N1.4 trillion.