16 December 2014, Abuja – The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission has commenced a nationwide monitoring of power distribution companies in order to determine those that have failed to provide meters to electricity consumers who have paid for the device under the Credited Advance Payment for Metering Implementation scheme.
It was learnt that the timeline for the provision of meters to consumers who paid for them under the CAPMI scheme had not changed despite the continued default by the distribution companies.
The Chairman, NERC, Dr. Sam Amadi, stated that the government had to monitor the Discos because of the numerous complaints by power consumers.
Amadi, who was represented by the General Manager, Government and Consumer Affairs, NERC, Dr. Anthony Akah, at a customers’ forum in Jos, said, “There is a timeline that was set in the regulation for the CAPMI and it is 45 days after payment has been made under the scheme. That timeline still remains.
“Based on the complaints we get from customers, that informed the decision by the commission to send monitoring teams to go round Nigeria to find out if there are defaults with regard to the CAPMI order. And as a follow-up on that, we are having this CAPMI interaction session.
“So, for those established to have violated the timeline, we have mandated them to first explain and secondly commit to have the meters installed. So, we have a timeline. It is a matter of enforcing that timeline, which we are doing now.”
The CAPMI was initiated by NERC whereby willing customers could advance funds for the purchase and installation of electricity meters. The payment will subsequently be refunded through a rebate on the fixed charge element of their electricity bills.
On statements that the government is not satisfied with the performance of the Discos in terms of metering, Amadi explained that the power sector was quite complex, but added that the government had a clear understanding of how to deal with it.
He said, “Metering is part of the CAPEX, that is, capital expenditure. And unfortunately, the distribution companies that took over these utilities are complaining that there are some mitigating circumstances that are inhibiting their ability to carry out some obligations assigned to them.
“Some of these obligations are like the ATC&C (Average Technical Collection and Commercial losses). And originally the one they signed in was quite low, but when they took in these utilities, they found out that in some cases; the losses were even times two.
“Therefore, their revenue profile went down to the extent that they could pay for the energy they got. So, the commission is addressing those clear issue. Once we have these things adjusted, the Discos will not have any further excuse whatsoever not to live up to their obligations.”
He noted that NERC was working with other stakeholders to find a way to intervene and accelerate the deployment of the meters.
“Once we tidy these issues up and have a good cost-reflective tariff, we expect that the distribution companies, now having a good conducive environment to operate, will not give us any excuse whatsoever,” Amadi added.
– The Punch