NERC commences new power metering scheme

Sam-Amadi NERC15 May 2013, Abuja – The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, says it has commenced the implementaion of its new electricity metering scheme, the Credit Advance Payment for Metering Implementation, CAPMI.

The commission has, therefore, directed all the electricity distribution companies of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN,to prompty commence implementation of the scheme, which is aimed at fast-tracking the deployment of meters to customers.

Specifically, the CAPMI is a measure by NERC to close up shortfalls in metering of eligible electricity consumers by PHCN distribution companies as a result of their failure to achieve comprehensive metering of consumers in the power sector within an 18 month period stipulated by NERC.

This failure together with continued consumers’ complaints and disatisfaction with the current estimated billing system practised within the sector pushed NERC to introduce the new scheme.

The scheme provides a platform for willing customers to pay the cost for meters provided by the distribution companies into a dedicated account jointly managed by the companies and meter vendor/installers.

It is expected that customers will have meters installed at their preferred locations within 45 days by such vendor/installer that has been accredited by NERC once payment has been confirmed.

In a statement, Tuesday in Abuja, NERC chairman, Dr. Sam Amadi, stated that the cost of the meters was arrived at using the standard market price plus the most efficient installation costs.

The statement by Assistant General Manager, Media of the commission, Maryam Abubakar, quoted Amadi as disclosing that the distribution companies had submitted data to this effect during the review of the Multi Year Tariff Order, MYTO, as well as review of prices supplied by local manufacturers of meters.

According to him, NERC had followed a comprehensive due process by first advertising and inviting the Bureau of Public Procurement, BPP, to supervise the process of certification based on the metering code before selecting vendors and installers that will participate in CAPMI.

Consultations were also held with various stakeholders, including preferred bidders, would-be vendors and installers and distribution companies as well as the financial institutions that will participate in the scheme to agree on the framework and logistics of implementing it.

Also, the commission emphasised on preference for local firms while selecting successful applicants as a way of localising the process and promoting local content in the sector, Amadi said.

With the coming into effect of the CAPMI, NERC also ordered the PHCN distribution companies to to commence immediate supply of meters paid for by customers dating back to January 2011.

“It is regrettable that customers paid for meters and they were not supplied with the same months even years after.

“This is a double jeopardy considering that meters ought to have been supplied to them free once they paid bills. The commission had to take January 2011 as deadline for a number of reasons. Nevertheless we are working on measures to ensure that customers who paid before January 2011 are metered within the shortest possible time,” he said.

The order is to be complied with in the next 44 days with failure expected to attract sanction on the chief executive officer of the defaulting distribution company.

In June 2012, NERC introduced a new set of electricity tariffs which provided that meters would be supplied for free for customers.

It set a goal of 18 months to meter the 2 million customers without meters. But, nine months after the target was set, not a single meter of the identified 2 million deficit in the country had been been deployed.

This has made the introduction of an alternative-self metering plan dubbed CAPMI to become necessary.

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