In an effort to strengthen the electricity industry, the NERC as approved a regulation for the licensing of third-party financing of meters that will be responsible for the supply, installation, and maintenance of meter assets to end users. This, the body believes will enable easier access to the meter as well as bring about improved service efficiency within the electricity industry.
Releasing the draft recently, the commission stated some objectives for which the provision was ratified which include to encourage the development of independent and competitive meter services in the electricity supply industry, eliminate estimated billing practices, attract private investment to the provision of metering services, close the metering gap through accelerated meter roll out, and enhance revenue assurance in the power business.
The new regulation which becomes effective from 3rd of April 2018, as added the services of the Meter Asset Providers (MAPs) in the Nigerian Electricity Services Industry value chain. By the regulation, MAPs will make quality meters available to electricity customers who will, in turn, pay for those over a 10-year period. The regulation states that the tenure of a MAP permit shall be 15 years in the first instance. The regulation also provides that the DISCOs, who are mandated by the commission to meet meter supply targets to customers can now do so through the MAPs after competitive bids that will help them pick the MAPs with the best bargain for the end users, A window of 120 days have been allowed for DISCOs to start to engage the services of the MAPs to help them meet their 3 years metering targets as directed by the commission.
Unlike under the former regime, customers who now only pay after physical installation of meters at their residence will do so in installments over the useful life of the meter. Such payment will be embedded in the electricity bill as service charge: a slight addition to the regular energy charge.
The effort of the commission to build local capacity mandating MAPs to patronize local meter manufacturers based on their capacity to deliver quality and affordable meters was adequately catered to by this provision which states that the MAPs shall source a minimum of 30% of their contracted metering volumes from local meter manufacturing companies within the country, and that such threshold will be adjusted whenever the need arises.
The conducts of the MAPs will be governed by the meter asset regulation provision. They are also made to enter into Service Level Agreements with the DISCOs.