11 March 2013, Lagos – As part of efforts to boost the deployment of pre-paid meters to electricity consumers across the country, the Federal Government has ordered regulatory body of the power sector, Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, to commence full implementation of an alternative funding scheme.
NERC received the order at the weekend following a presentation of the commission chairman, Sam Amadi to the Presidential Action Committee on Power, PACP in Abuja.
At the end of the presentation, PACP agreed with the recommendations made by NERC, and has asked for the immediate implementation of the scheme known as “Credit Advance Payment for Meter Installation – CAPMI”. prepaid-meters
The scheme according to NERC was designed as an alternative for customers who are willing to advance money to their distribution companies for speedy installation of prepayment meters.
It would be recall that NERC had earlier this year announced that electricity meter was no longer free. The commission in June 1, 2012 said that pre-paid meters should be distributed free to electricity customers across the country by Distribution Companies, DISCO’s due to the new tariff, adding that punitive measures will be taken against any DISCO who fails to abide to the instruction.
Nine months after, NERC admitted that an unacceptable number of Nigerians were still without meters Sam Amadi, who addressed a press briefing on the revision of the earlier free meter directive, stressed that any customer who wishes to pay for the meter now would be compensated over time.
In return for paid meters, such customers would get energy credit and reduction in their fixed charges over time.
Meanwhile, one of the top priorities of the commission’s CAPMI is to ensure that huge number of unmetered customers is reduced as rapidly as possible within the shortest possible time.
By doing so, NERC believes that the menace of “crazy billing” and other commercial losses will be greatly curtailed. CAPMI according to NERC is an optional scheme that has been designed to allow willing customers advance money to their distribution company in exchange for the installation of meters.
Amadi explained to PACP that once meters have been installed under the new scheme, “customers are then refunded for the cost of the meter by way of monthly reductions on the fixed charge element of their electricity bills over time.”
He stressed that the commission has developed processes that will ensure that the advance payments will be secure, and made in a transparent manner to dedicated bank accounts in selected banks.
“The Commission has also developed guidelines for the procurement and installation of the meters by accredited vendors and installers. Local manufacturers of meters will be given priority over importers, all of whom will be subject to strict guidelines and standards set by the Commission.
“NERC is mindful of the fact that there are customers who have in the past made payments for meters to their electricity companies and will ensure that customers who made these payments from January 1, 2011 are supplied within a stipulated period.
“This scheme is optional and will not be imposed on customers. Only those who are willing to advance money for meters may partake in the scheme. The distribution companies are to implement this scheme until the core investors take over, expectedly by the third quarter of 2013.
“In the meantime, CAPMI is to be subjected to a rigorous consultation process, commencing with a meeting with the core investors of the privatized electricity distribution companies,” he said. NERC pledges support to NUEE In another development, NERC has pledged it commitment that electricity workers in the sector are treated fairly and their interest are protected through fair regulation. The pledged was made by chairman of NERC, Sam Amadi at the national Executive meeting of the National Union of Electricity Employees, NUEE recently.
Amadi commended NUEE for the peaceful conduct of their struggle in light of the ongoing privatization. He said “I must commend labour for a violence free struggle unlike what we have seen happen in some other countries where privatization has occasioned massive unrest”. Amadi urged them to continue to exercise restraint as government implements agreements they have reached with investors. “As a regulator, NERC is committed to ensuring that operators in the new electricity industry pay fair wages to workers and provide a safe and healthy working environment that promotes productivity”.
* Kunlr Kalejaye, Vanguard