The Federal Government has decided to look for alternative means to fund the metering gap currently being experienced by electricity consumers in the country.
The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) was recently go ahead with the implementation of the alternative scheme which the Chairman/CEO, Mr Sam Amadi, recommended at a meeting with the Presidential Action Committee on Power (PACP) last week.
The alternative funding scheme is expected to see rapid deployment of electricity meters across the country, as the PACP has agreed with the recommendations made by NERC, and has asked for the immediate implementation of the scheme known as, “Credit Advance Payment for Meter Installation – CAPMI”.
The scheme is designed as an alternative for customers who are willing to advance money to their distribution companies for speedy installation of prepayment meters.
Once meters have been installed under this new scheme, customers are then refunded for the cost of the meter by way of monthly reductions on the fixed charge element of their electricity bills over time. NERC has developed processes that ensure that the advance payments will be secure, and made in a transparent manner to dedicated bank accounts in selected banks.
One of the top priorities of the Commission is to ensure that the huge number of unmetered customers is reduced as rapidly as possible, and within the shortest possible time. By doing so, the menace of “crazy billing” and other commercial losses will be greatly curtailed.
In June 2012, NERC announced that customers were no longer required to pay for electricity meters because the new tariff, at the time, had incorporated the cost of the meter in the fixed charge component of the bill.
Unfortunately, this did not work out as the Commission had expected, and nine months after the announcement, an unacceptable number of Nigerians still remained without meters. This prompted NERC to act quickly in coming up with customer centered alternatives.