The regulation on meter asset providers, which will provide standard rules for the emergence and participation of independent and competitive providers in the Nigerian electricity industry was finally presented to stakeholders at the 25th monthly power sector operators meeting held in Uyo, Akwa Ibom on Monday.
The regulation would become operational as from April 3, 2018.
By this, estimated billing practices is expected to be eliminated in the industry, attract private investment into a viable metering services business, close the metering gap through accelerated meter roll out, and enhance customer satisfaction and liquidity of the electricity market.
According to Babatunde Fashola, minister of power, works and housing, who spoke at the meeting, he is happy to announce that NERC has concluded the regulations that will provide the framework to license a new class of meter asset providers to complement the efforts of Discos to supply meters to citizens.
He said government decision to pursue an out-of-court settlement on a meter contract awarded since 2003, which was held up in court until 2017, had made available about N39 billion to kick off this process.
Majority of electricity customers are unmetered and are therefore billed by electricity Discos based on an estimate of energy consumed rather than actual consumption. The estimated billing practices often referred to as “crazy billing” is regarded by most consumers as arbitrary, subjective, non-scientific and unfair and consequently resulted in customer dissatisfaction, apathy, public outcry and increasing incidence of electricity theft.
The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) stated that, the Commission, having appraised the current challenges in providing adequate meters in the electricity industry and its consequent impact on the financial viability of the market, had as part of its rule making process issued a Consultation Paper on initiatives towards ending estimated billing.
Yola Disco is said to be already positioning to take up 400,000 meters once the contract and process formalities are concluded. It is expected that Abuja, Ibadan, Kano, Ikeja and Benin Discos are also embracing the initiative, which has reserved a 30 percent local content for the meters to be supplied under the regulations.
Industry analysts believe that with the entry of more metering companies into the industry the issue of crazy bill would be eliminated from the system.