NERC plans new Electricity Metering Strategy

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The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) is working to grant a 15-year license to Meter Asset Providers (MAP) in order to speed up metering across the 11 Distribution Companies.

In a draft regulation obtained by reporters it was indicated that the DisCos could be given 120 days (four months) after the approval to engage firms to provide meters to the huge “(waiting list)” of customers.

According to industry sources and statistics obtained from NERC; as at July 31, 2017, only 3.451 million registered electricity customers had been metered from a population of 7.476 million.

The number represents 46 percent of customers captured on the DisCos billing system, and it means that 4.025 million customers, about 54 percent, do not have meters.

Data also shows that for customers that have meters, about 410,796 of them bought them between 2013 and November 2016 and this was under the Credited Advance Payment for Metering Initiative (CAPMI).

The DisCos had repeatedly blamed the paltry 12.3 percent achievement of their initially planned annual target of 1.640 million meters on changing macroeconomic indices.

NERC has however insisted on speeding up the metering process amid the cries of “crazy” billings it has continued to receive, bottom line; The distribution companies did not meet their metering targets of 4.92 million within three years

DisCos had actually committed to installing 1.640 million meters annually which would cater to the metering needs of 4.92 million electricity customers.

However, spokesman for the DisCos’ umbrella group, Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors (ANED) Barrister Sunday Oduntan, said the Capital Expenditure (CAPEX) set by NERC in the DisCos’ tariff plan was not enough to meet the metering target and also finance other investments like transformer installations.

Determined to end the estimated billing by 2020, NERC, in a consultation paper in October 2017, said it was planning the new regulation which would introduce Meter Assets Providers (MAP) that would help bridge a four million metering gap.

While data from the commission shows that there is a 54 percent metering deficit, on a customer base of about 7.4 million which expected to grow by nine percent annually as captured in the Multi-Year Tariff Order (MYTO), 2015.

Based on this the projection is that there should be 300- 500,000 meters provided yearly for the new entrants while another 1.7 million meters would still be needed for defective meter replacement.

The draft of the new ‘Meter Asset Providers Regulations 2017’, has not been signed however it describes the new look of metering initiative from NERC with the demise of CAPMI.

The regulation was expected to be ready by November 2017, it missed the target.

However, in the draft released by NERC, it held the DisCos responsible for not meeting their metering target and said that it would procure the services from Meter Asset Providers (MAP) to meet the target.

It said, “The Distribution Licensee shall conclude the procurement process for the engagement of MAP within 120 calendar days of coming into effect of these regulations,”

It provides that after a DisCo gets a MAP, NERC will again engage a tender auditor to probe the procurement process. To qualify as a MAP, firms would have to apply to NERC with a 10-year business plan along with other documents. “The tenure of MAP license shall be 15 years for successful firms in the first instance,” it said.

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