Other firms can now pro­vide me­ters to power con­sumers –NERC

The Punch - - FRONT PAGE - Okechukwu Nn­odim, Abuja

POWER dis­tri­bu­tion com­pa­nies do not have the sole re­spon­si­bil­ity of pro­vid­ing me­ters to elec­tric­ity con­sumers any­more, the Nige­rian Elec­tric­ity Reg­u­la­tory Com­mis­sion de­clared on Mon­day.

Ac­cord­ing to NERC, a new reg­u­la­tion, un­veiled on Mon­day, has now in­tro­duced an­other class of op­er­a­tors in the power sec­tor called Me­ter As­set Providers.

The Com­mis­sioner, Le­gal, Li­cens­ing and Com­pli­ance, NERC, Dafe Akpen­eye, said MAPS would now take up the duty of pro­vid­ing me­ters to cus­tomers, among other func­tions.

Akpen­eye, who spoke at the 25th Monthly Power Sec­tor Meet­ing, said the com­mis­sion saw the non­avail­abil­ity of me­ters as a very se­ri­ous con­cern and met with con­sumers, Dis­cos, fi­nanciers and other stake­hold­ers across the in­dus­try in or­der to solve the prob­lem.

He said, “We all ar­rived at the same an­swer that we have to do some­thing dif­fer­ent. We can no longer leave this very im­por­tant obli­ga­tion to the dis­tri­bu­tion com­pa­nies alone; other play­ers have to come into this space. So, we went about cre­at­ing the NERC Me­ter As­set Provider Reg­u­la­tion, 2018. What does this seek to do dif­fer­ently?

“In the past, we left it as a sole re­spon­si­bil­ity of the Dis­cos in their per­for­mance agree­ment that they are to me­ter cus­tomers. It’s been over four years since pri­vati­sa­tion and cus­tomers are still com­plain­ing. So, to solve this prob­lem, we are cre­at­ing a new class in the in­dus­try called Me­ter As­set Providers.”

He added, “MAPS will be in­de­pen­dent peo­ple who will be ap­proved by NERC but con­tracted by the Dis­cos to bridge the me­ter­ing gap. In do­ing this, there will be var­i­ous op­tions avail­able to cus­tomers.

“Elec­tric­ity con­sumers will now have the op­tion of self-fi­nanc­ing. Those who don’t want this will be able to ob­tain me­ters from MAPS and there will be a me­ter­ing ser­vice charge spread over a pe­riod of 10 years.”

Akpen­eye said the reg­u­la­tion would at­tract over N200m worth of in­vest­ments into the sec­tor through me­ter pro­duc­tion, adding that lo­cal con­tent re­quire­ment was cap­tured in the law.

He stated, “MAPS do not only have the re­spon­si­bil­ity to pro­vide me­ters, but they also have the re­spon­si­bil­ity to en­sure that those me­ters are main­tained and re­placed within 48 hours if any­thing goes wrong with a me­ter. This reg­u­la­tion will not only ad­dress the is­sue of me­ter­ing, but we es­ti­mate that it will at­tract an in­vest­ment of over N200m in the next three years in the in­dus­try and will create jobs.

“We’ve in­tro­duced lo­cal con­tent re­quire­ment into the reg­u­la­tion and with its com­mence­ment, it is es­ti­mated that at least 30 per cent of all me­ters de­ployed must be pro­cured from lo­cal man­u­fac­tur­ers and as­sem­blers. As the reg­u­la­tion pro­gresses, the need to use lo­cal providers will be in­creased in line with the NERC lo­cal con­tent reg­u­la­tion.”

Com­ment­ing on the reg­u­la­tion, the Min­is­ter of Power, Works and Hous­ing, Ba­batunde Fashola, ex­plained that the gov­ern­ment had to set­tle a me­ter con­tract prob­lem that lasted for 14 years be­fore it could ac­tu­alise the Me­ter As­set Provider Reg­u­la­tion, 2018.

He stated, “The next thing to do is to im­ple­ment the reg­u­la­tion and that will re­quire the co­op­er­a­tion of all stake­hold­ers in the value chain. Gov­ern­ment de­cided to pur­sue an out-of-court set­tle­ment on a me­ter con­tract that was awarded since 2003, which was held up in court un­til 2017.”

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