The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission’s (NERC) new resolve to close the metering gap, put at five million, in the next three years is laudable. NERC will achieve the goal through the effective implementation of the meter rollout plan by the distribution companies (Discos) under the Meter Asset Provider (MAP) scheme.
The Chairman of NERC, Prof. James Momoh, who revealed this at a recent Town Hall meeting in Lagos organised by the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) in conjunction with McArthur Foundation and Ikeja Electric, said that the commission had instituted measures to accelerate metering through regulatory means such as the Meter Asset Provider Regulation 2018.
The NERC boss also urged the consumers to be patient with the Discos over meter installation. He assured them that the commission will not tolerate exorbitant charges for energy consumed or not. The commission has established Customer Complaints Forum offices in 25 states of the federation to quickly attend to customer complaints.
Available data shows that the metering gap is about 5,046,906 when compared to the total customer size of 8,840,801. This represents 57 per cent deficit in metering. We welcome the new initiative and urge NERC, Discos and other stakeholders to ensure the faithful implementation of the meter rollout plan.
It is sad that almost seven years after the privatisation exercise, many electricity consumers across the country still complain of epileptic power supply and outrageous billings. In fact, one of the problems of the nation’s power sector is the issue of excessive billing due to paucity of meters.
Now that new meters will soon be rolled out, there is hope that many Nigerian consumers will be reached. If the MAP scheme is properly implemented, it will be a win-win situation for all the parties involved. Therefore, we urge the Discos to ensure that the MAP scheme succeeds.
There is no doubt that the introduction of the prepaid metering system in the country has been good to the sector. With prepaid meters, every consumer pays according to what he consumes. This is exactly what electricity consumers in the country want. It is fair and also in consonance with the global best practices.
Metering enables a consumer to control his consumption and save the power he does not need. It will help to end the current wastages in the system and save energy for others that need it. If the NERC and the DisCos will close the metering gap in the next three years, we believe that it will solve once and for all the problem of estimated billing or ‘crazy bills.’
Apart from meeting the metering needs of electricity consumers, there is urgent need to improve the power supply in the country. Government and the electricity companies should strive to meet the national energy need put at between 40,000MW and 60,000MW.
The nation’s current power generation capacity put at between 7,000MW and 10,000MW cannot adequately address our power challenge. There is also the problem of obsolete equipment in the sector. This can probably explain why some generated power could not be distributed.
We urge the new owners of the electricity companies to muster the will to inject the much-needed funds into the sector and change some of the antiquated equipment. The Federal Government and other stakeholders should show much commitment to invest the projected $2 billion in the sector every year for ten years. This is the amount that will ensure steady power supply in the country.
Besides, other sources of power generation such as solar, wind and wastes should be vigorously exploited.