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No going back on 100% metering, says Nebo

By The Citizen
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The minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo said Friday that federal government would not look back on its quest to metre every Nigerian within the shortest time possible.

Nebo, who spoke at a stakeholder meeting on the new consumer metering scheme-Credited Advance Payment for Metering Implementation (CAPMI)-stressed that metres availability would give the nation a more reliable revenue collection system and ensure that consumers only pay for what they consume.

Represented by the Market Operator at the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), Mr. Evarestus Mogbo, Nebo emphasised that the issue of effective metering is important to the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI).

He said: 'One hundred per cent metering is compulsory.  Due to a few issues that were not anticipated, we are now finding a way to sort it out. We want to sort it out to move forward in our march to reform the power sector.'

In the same vein, the Chairman of NERC, Dr. Sam Amadi, stressed that the distribution companies would implement the CAPMI, noting that distribution companies shall refund the customer cost of the metre only with interest through rebate in monthly fixed charge, while the DISCOs would render monthly reports to NERC.

'Under the new system, distribution companies will refund the consumers who advance money for metres their money overtime. We will ensure that consumers who make payments are to be metred within 48 days. The money will be put into an escrow account. NERC will come out with an order to back this scheme up and give it legal backing,' he said.

He added: 'This plan is not new at all. Initially, the money for metre was captured in the tariff consumers pay. But now, consumers would be allowed to pay, while they get a refund through electricity credits and reduction into their fixed charges over time.'

According to him, 'one of the top priorities of the Commission is the speedy metering of customers. Numerous customer complaints indicate a high level of dissatisfaction with the way they are billed by the DISCOs. Currently, no upfront payment for metres is required of customers. The Commission, therefore, considers it expedient to explore other avenues of ensuring that customers are metred to eliminate wildly estimated bills.'

Amadi said willing customers could be allowed to advance funds for the purchase and installation of meters. 'These advance payments are subsequently refunded through a rebate on the fixed charge element of their electricity bills. CAPMI will minimize estimation and enhance revenue collection,' he noted.

He disclosed that metre specifications that shall comply with the Metering Code would soon be issued to metre manufacturers.

He added: 'The cost of metres and associated installation costs is as approved by NERC and no profit shall accrue to the DISCOs. The DISCOs shall follow a transparent and competitive procurement process determined by NERC/Bureau for Public Procurement in selecting the vendors/installers. All vendors/installers shall be certified by NERC/ BPP.'