The Federal Government has directed the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, to put measures that would allow power consumers buy meters from approved vendors.
It also directed that unmetered consumers should be allowed to pay the last undisputed bill provided the failure to meter the customer was the fault of the Disco.
The commission had in September last year directed the 11 electricity distribution companies operating in the country to formally wind down the alternative meter financing scheme on or before November 1, 2016, a scheme it initiated in 2013.
NERC had said that the Credited Advance Payment for Metering Implementation, which allowed consumers to self-finance meter acquisition and installation, would stop from November 1, 2016.
The Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, on Thursday, said that both the Federal and State Governments recently reached agreement that NERC should reinstate the regulation that permits power consumers to purchase meters, especially where the Discos could not provide the facility.
According to the ministry, the resolution was reached at the recent third edition of the National Council on Power.
The communique issued at the end of the meeting was made available to reporters in Abuja yesterday.
Minister of Works, Power and Housing, Babatunde Fashola presided over the council and was supported by the Minister of State for Power, Works and Housing, Suleiman Hassan. Council members from 27 states of the federation attended the meeting.
The communique read in part, “Council considered issues, observations and recommendations made by the working /technical committees as contained in the reports laid before it , and took key decisions as well as gave directives for implementation with time lines as outlined below.
“NERC to reinstate regulations permitting willing customers to purchase meters from approved meter vendors as approved by the distribution companies and the Nigeria Electricity Management Services Agency with a framework to reimburse such customers in cash, or energy.
“NERC to issue a regulation that enables third-party meter providers to install and manage customers’ meters, provided that such third parties are certified by NEMSA and approved by the Discos based on available metering standards.
“NERC to provide a framework for compensating the investment made by meter service providers in cash or shares in the Discos.”
The council also stated that NERC should commence an aggressive multi-platform public awareness programme that would reach as many customers as possible and explain all policies and regulations and obligations related to metering.
It directed NERC to enforce on the Discos the policy directive that “any unmetered customer was obligated to pay only the last undisputed bill.”
It directed the commission to also inforce that if the customer remained unmetered, the last undisputed bill should be discounted by 15 per cent in each subsequent year that the customer remained unmetered provided that the failure to meter the customer was the fault of the Disco.
The council stated, “In areas where customers are dissatisfied with the services they are currently enjoying, NERC regulations should give customers the option of contracting better services from service providers and generation companies through policies like the eligible customers regulation and mini-grids using varieties of generation technologies; obtaining better services by compelling Discos to appoint retail agents; and obtaining better services by compelling the Discos to relinquish their franchise to capable investors/service providers.”