The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, has set December 31 deadline for electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) to close existing metering contracts and align with the newly released Meter Asset Provider, MAP, regulation.
The power sector regulatory commission stated, however, that the MAP regulations would not over-ride existing metering contracts.
However, the commission clarified that existing metering contracts must transit to the provisions of the MAP regulation after the deadline.
The NERC had in March this year approved a regulation that provides for the supply, installation, and maintenance of end-user meters by other parties.
It explained the regulation was part of sustained efforts to ensure that electricity customers only pay for what they actually consume. The regulation is expected to fast-track a closure to the metering gap and encourage the development of independent and competitive meter services in the electricity sector.
The MAP regulation (Regulation No. NERC/R/112),which became effective from April 3, introduced meter asset providers as a new set of service providers in Nigeria Electricity Supply Industry.
As assets with a technically useful life of 10-15 years, the regulation provides for the third-party financing of meters, under a permit issued by the commission, and amortization over a period of 10 years.
Under the latest regulatory regime, the DisCos, in line with their licensing terms and conditions, are obliged to achieve their metering targets as set by the commission
According to NERC, contracting of meter asset providers would be through an open, transparent and competitive bid process thus, ensuring that meters are provided at lowest cost to electricity customers.
This is even as the regulation provides that there are no free meters under the current tariff regime as all customers, including those on estimated billing, currently, pay for a return on the investment made by electricity distribution companies on meters in their networks.
However, the NERC stated further that under the new MAP regulation, customer classes would be amended to ensure that customers pay only for meters that are physically installed on their premises.
Similarly, the commission also stated that the electricity bill of customers provided with a meter under the new regulatory framework shall comprise of two parts – energy charge and metering service charge.
NERC stated further: “The payment of metering service charge will be removed from the customer electricity bill upon the full amortisation of the meter asset over its useful life. All faulty meters are expected to be repaired or replaced free of charge within two working days, except in instances where it is established that the customer is responsible for the damaged meter.”
The commission explained that the new MAP regulation mandated the investors to acquire a minimum of 30 percent of their metering volume from indigenous meter manufacturers. However, the local content threshold may be adjusted by the commission from time to time in line with the verified manufacturing volume of local manufacturers.
In line with the new regulation, the 11 DisCos are expected to, within 120 days from the effective date of the regulation, engage the services of MAPs towards the achievement of their three-year metering targets prescribed by NERC.
“The performance of meter service providers shall be governed by the provisions of the meter asset regulation, technical codes of the electricity industry, and a meter services agreement and service level agreement signed with the distribution companies.”, the commission added.