Metering: Discos Demand for N400bn from FG

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Power distribution companies (Discos) in Nigeria have declared that the Meter Asset Provider (MAP) scheme has met significant challenges, including lack of financing and increased import duty on meters, and as such they would need the federal government to provide N400 billion bailout through commercial banks to enable them confront the challenges.

In a joint statement issued on Tuesday, the Discos said that the funds should be made available to customers through its various development partners, to access for metering under the MAP scheme. According to the power firms, the funds should be long-term single-digit interest loans.

In March 2018, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) introduced the MAP Regulation, aimed at fast-tracking the closure of the metering gap in the sector through the engagement of third-party investors for the financing, procurement, supply, installation and maintenance of electricity meters.

The Commission had set a target of three years for the provision of meters to all customers, and had directed the Discos and the meter asset providers to commence the rollout of meters not later than May 1, 2019. But NERC said early this year that there had been several constraints, including changes in fiscal policy and the absence of long-term funding that limited the success of the meter rollout.

In the statement, the distribution companies accused NERC of designing the MAP regulations with inappropriate meter pricing, which resulted in slowing the plugging of the metering gap of over 6.5 million. 

“The government should provide N400 billion for comprehensive metering MAP vendors/customers through the commercial banks with an 18-month metering completion period and a 10-year repayment term,” they said in the statement. 

They stressed that the absence of long-term single-digit interest funding and increase in import duty shortly after meter prices were capped by NERC, resulted in a 35% increase on fully assembled meters.

They called on NERC to install appropriate and commercial price on meters to ensure mass metering. “Discos should have a surcharge for those who don’t or can’t pay for meters upfront in their own inventory of meters. Waivers to be granted to cover meters and meter prices [should] be fully commercialised. Waivers on increase in duty to continue for at least two years,” they said.

According to them, the capping of estimated billing by the regulator had reduced the incentives for consumers to obtain meters.

Chibisi Ohakah, Abuja

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