The NigerianRegulatory Commission (NERC) said it had deployed a total of 611,231 meters as of Jan. 31, 2021.
The commission said that the deployment of the meters was done under the Meter Asset Provider (MAP) initiative in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic and other extraneous factors.
NERC stated this in a “Consultation Paper on the Review of Meter Asset Provider (MAP) Regulations 2018’’ on its website on Thursday.
It said, “as a regulatory initiative to fast track the closure of the metering gap, the commission issued the MAP regulations in March 2018.
“It is with the objective of eliminating estimated billing practices, attracting private investment in the provision of metering services, enhancing revenue assurance in Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) and promoting local meter manufacturing in Nigeria.’’
It said that in order to ensure transparency in the meter roll-out as provided for in the MAP regulations, deployment of meters could not begin until August 2019, following the conclusion of competitive procurement by DisCos.
It stated that the procurement by the DisCos was monitored by the commission.
The commission said that the challenge of closing the metering gap in Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) still persisted as more than half of the registered electricity customers remained unmetered.
It said that the existence of a huge metering gap and the need to ensure successful implementation of the Multi Year Tariff Order (MYTO) 2020 Service-Based Tariff resulted in the approval of the National Mass Metering Programme (NMMP).
The commission stated that NMMP was “a policy of the Federal Government anchored on the provision of long-term low interest financing to the DisCos.
“The main objectives of the NMMP is to increase the meter deployment rate, promote local meter manufacturing, create jobs in the local meter value chain, reduce collection losses and enhance NESI’s financial viability.
“The NMMP is planned to be implemented in phases as hereunder.
“Under Phase Zero, the Central bank of Nigeria (CBN) shall provide funding to the DisCos to procure one million meters from the existing stock available from MAPs.’’
The procurement was at the regulated cost already established via the competitive procurement under MAP initiative.
NERC said that all meters to be procured by the MAPs outside their inventory must be from a local meter manufacturer/assembler.
It said this was expected to be implemented over a period of three months to six months.
“In phase 1, the CBN shall provide financing to the DisCos for the procurement of between three to four million meters through a competitive procurement process among local meter manufacturers/assemblers.
“The outcome of the procurement process shall provide a benchmark price for single and three phase meters respectively.
“Contract volumes shall be apportioned to local meter manufacturers in proportion to verified manufacturing capacity.
“In phase 2, the World Bank shall provide financing to DisCos for the procurement of meters to close any remaining metering gap in NESI,’’ it said.
According to NERC, the purpose of the consultation paper is to review the various options to fast track the closure of the metering gap within the implementation framework of the MAP regulations and the NMMP.
It said the commission in the consultation paper would also consider the merits and demerits of each option.
“This consultation paper is structured into two broad areas: proposed options for metering implementation going forward:
“To allow the implementation of both the NMMP and MAP metering frameworks to run concurrently;
“To continue with the current MAP framework with meters procured under the NMMP supplied only through MAPs by being off-takers from the local manufacturers/assemblers;
“To wind down the MAP framework and allow the DisCos to procure meters directly from local manufacturers/assemblers or as procured by the World Bank.
“And enter into new contracts for the installation and maintenance of such meters,’’ NERC said.
The commission said that under all three options, the DisCos should continue to be accountable for metering as this remained a core responsibility of utilities.
It added that it was a contractual obligation in their Performance Agreements with the Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE).