Estimated 6,456,275 electricity users in Nigeria are believed to be unmetered, while between N289.86 billion and N534.93 billion is required to provide meters for the huge number of unmetered electricity users in the West African country.

This development comes from Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) latest data comes on the heels of the face-off between Nigerian electricity consumers on one hand and between the lawmakers in the national assembly and NERC over the impending hike in electricity tariff.

Also early last month, there were reports that power consumers would pay more for prepaid meters as the NERC had approved a hike in the prices of meters. The commission increased the price for a three-phase meter from N67, 055.85 to N82, 855.19, while the cost of a single-phase meter was raised from N36, 991.50 to N44, 896.17.

The records showed that while a total of N534.93 billion would be required for a three-phase meter for the 6,456,275 unmetered electricity users across the country, a total of N289.86 billion would be required to meter the same number of customers if single phase meters are to be deployed to nationwide.

By this calculation, a minimum amount of N289.86 billion would be required to provide meters for unmetered electricity users in Nigeria. The NERC had established another set of operators in the sector known as Meter Asset Providers to work with electricity distribution companies for the provision of meters.

Meanwhile, power distributors (DisCos) are urging operators in the sector to work in alliance and be coordinated in order to address the equipment development gaps in the sector. The NERC confirmed in its most recent quarterly report that the impact of MAPs had not been much, although the initiative had helped to increase the number of metered customers to marginally.

“The metering gap for end-use customers is still a key challenge in the industry. The records of the commission indicate that, of the 10,374,597 registered electricity customers, only 3,918,322 have been metered as at the end of the fourth quarter of 2019,” the Commission said in its report.

NERC said over 62 per cent of registered power users were still on estimated billing, which had contributed to customer apathy towards payment for electricity.

Chibisi Ohakah, Abuja

Chibisi Ohakah, Abuja

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