FG Approves N21Bn For Supply Of Free Meters To Electricity Users

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The Federal Government has announced the approval of N21 billion under the Presidential Metering Initiative (PMI) to bridge the country’s metering gap by supplying meters to unmetered electricity users at no cost nationwide.

The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) in a Notice issued on Friday with the Reference Number – NERC/2024/072, titled “Order on the Operationalisation of ‘Tranche A’ of the Meter Acquisition Fund”, expressed the hope that the deployment of funds under the Meter Acquisition Fund scheme would accelerate the deployment of meters and close the current metering gap.

The commission stated that the funding  would help in reducing commercial and collection losses to power distribution companies, enhancing the quality of service, and improving customer satisfaction.

It clarified: “The funds accrued as of the April 2024 market settlement cycle and available for procurement of meters under the first tranche of the MAF scheme is in the sum of NGN21,864,851,725. The commission hereby approves the use of a sum of NGN21,000,000,000 apportioned prorata to contribution by the Discos as Tranche A of the MAF scheme.

“All the meters to be procured and installed under the MAF framework shall be at no cost to the customers of the Discos.

“This order shall become effective on June 13, 2024, and may be amended or revoked by subsequent orders issued by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission”, the commission added.

It would be recalled that as part of its regulatory measures aimed at improving the metering of electricity consumers, the NERC introduced the Meter Asset Provider Regulations 2018 and thereafter the MAP and National Mass Metering Regulations in 2021.

Specifically, the regulations provided several options for metering customers but the interventions had not remarkably closed the national metering gap, which currently stands at over seven million.

As electricity distribution companies (DisCos) had been unable to raise funds either in the form of debt or additional equity to boost meter production and deployment to electricity customers over the past few years,  the MAP scheme and the PMI were initiated and approved by the commission to primarily to address the challenge of metering gap in the power sector.

The Federal Government approved the PMI to close the metering gap in the NESI within three years, leveraging smart metering technologies for data analytics.

The commission also approved the deregulation of meter prices under the MAP scheme vide order NERC/2024/040, which provides that all prices of meters under the MAP scheme should be determined through a transparent and competitive bidding process by eligible MAPs, to ensure on efficient pricing of meters while responding more quickly to changes in macroeconomic parameters.

The NERC’s order stated: “A competitive bidding process was held on May 21, 2024, based on the provisions of Order NERC/2024/040, where a total of 24 MAPs participated across the 12 Discos. A total of 44 bids were submitted for 10-meter specifications.

“While the NESI is expected to leverage on the revenue stream under the MAF framework to raise substantial capital funding for metering, there is an imperative to accelerate a closure of the metering gap for all customers currently classified under tariff Band A for revenue protection and facilitating demand side management for the affected customers”, it added.

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