From Isaac Anumihe, Abuja
Experts in the electricity industry, at the weekend, berated the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) for hiking the price of meters, while suggesting that the commission go back to Credit Advanced Payment for Metering Initiative (CAPMI).
CAPMI, they opined, allows consumers who are non-investors,
non-stakeholders to buy meter with any amount of money.
” If they buy the meter the government will give them a token with interest” they maintained.
In his opinion, president, Nigerian Consumer Protection Network and member, Presidential Ad hoc Committee on the Review of Electricity Tariff in Nigeria, Kunle Olubiyo, described the electricity sector as a ship without a captain.
“The challenge we have is lack of regulatory certainty. The regulator has eloped and abandoned his ship. When you have a regulator jumping overboard a ship, the ship will capsize. The regulator chose to abandon the ship. So, that is just what happened.
The captain of the ship has been missing. The regulatory ecosystem lacks some powers mainly because we have two metering schemes running side by side. The Meter Asset Provider (MAP) went to court because they have made a lot of investment and now we have the National Mass Metering Programme (NMMP) which has just exhausted its meters and it is expected to move to phase one.The gap between the migration from Zero Phase to Phase One is 8 million to 10 million. This is of public concern. It is not expected that there would be a vacuum in transition.If there is no vacuum in the supply chain and funding chain nobody will know the difference. But to us now, MAP licensees have refused to supply because of distortions in exchange rate volatility and other market variables. You know our economy is petro-dollar driven.
“As we speak there is a supply vacuum between Zero Phase and Phase One. If it is increased, we are saying that the government should go back to take a look at the Credit Advanced Payment for Metering Initiative (CAPMI) which allows consumers who are non-investors, non-stakeholders to buy meter at any amount of money. If they buy the meter the government will give them a token with interest” he submitted.
However, President General, Coalition of South East Youth Leaders, Honourable Goodluck Ibem, posited that the increase would inflict more hardships on Nigerian electricity consumers, adding that Nigerians are still grappling with the hike in gas price.
“The increase in meter price will bring more hardships to the consumers.
“As we speak, the masses are still trying to come to terms with the increase in the price of gas.
“Another source of energy which is
electricity will cause more hardships. The prices of things are on the increase on daily basis and Nigerians are suffering and some people are dying out of hardship” he noted.
Recall that at the weekend, NERC approved a review of the price of electricity meters because of foreign exchange and inflation changes.
While the price of a single-phase meter rises from N44, 896.17 to N58,661.69, a three-phase meter will now go for N109, 684.36 as against N82,855.19.