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States urge for ‘no-meter, no-service’ policy

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By Abiodun Okunloye

Electricity meters are crucial in addressing the substantial metering disparity.

In order to address the metering problems in the country’s power sector. State governments in Nigeria are pushing for a no-meter, no-service policy to be implemented by the Federal Government. This proposal is detailed in the development of the National Integrated Electricity Policy & Strategic Implementation Plan, which was suggested by the Nigeria Governors’ Forum to the Federal Ministry of Power with the aim of improving electricity connections for all new customers. They emphasised the vital role of electricity meters in addressing the substantial disparity, which is crucial for the Sustainability of regional economies.

They emphasised the importance of giving State Electricity Regulatory Commissions (SERCs) the authority to choose the appropriate meter Technology, type, and design for implementation in their individual electricity sectors. In the written statement, it was stated that states are of the opinion that providing electricity meters to bridge the significant deficit is essential for ensuring the success of regional markets. SERCs, along with Distribution Licensees, should have the authority to decide on the technology and type to be used in their respective States’ electricity markets.

Finance support is needed for cost-effective, long-term projects.

Factors to consider include the cost, availability of Telecommunication coverage, tariff structures set by the SERC, the varying metering needs of urban and rural areas, and different customer categories based on their energy usage. The states believe that the national electricity policy should require a no meter, no service rule for all new connections in order to stop the metering gap from growing any larger. The states are urging the federal government to help Finance the cost-effective, long-term projects.

This could involve providing direct loans to Distribution Licensees or utilising off-balance sheet funding from specialised meter finance companies or its asset SPV companies. Additionally, the proposal recommends promoting the direct purchase of prepaid products from approved accredited providers and manufacturers endorsed by the SERC by electricity consumers. This would help bridge the gap in availability. Additionally, the document suggested promoting the purchase from those certified by SERC, thereby encouraging electricity customers to take a more proactive role in acquisition.

Estimated billing in the power sector will be abolished by the end of the year.

States are responsible for setting up their own metering programs and regulations in order to address the metering gap in their respective electricity markets. Adebayo Adelabu, the Minister of Power, announced earlier this year that the federal government has pledged to abolish estimated billing in the country’s power industry by the end of the current year. Despite efforts by the government, a significant gap still exists in Nigeria, with approximately half of the customers in the area not having proper meters.

According to a report from the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), out of 12,825,005 registered electricity customers, only 5,707,838 have meters, leaving over 7.1 million without this advanced equipment. Those customers are placed in the estimated billing system. The rate for all DisCos combined is approximately 44.51%. The highest rate was seen in Ikeja DisCo at 72.0%, with the lowest rate found in Yola DisCo at 18%. It was also reported that 57% of complaints received last year were related to disputed bills.

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Customers who do not have one must pay a set, estimated fee, even if the supply from the outdated grid is inconsistent. Similarly, a recent report by AskNigeria revealed that the federal government aims to purchase 3.5 million electricity meters by the year’s end to address inaccuracy and boost earnings for the struggling power industry, where over 50% of consumers receive estimated bills. A total of ₦20 billion has been allocated to power Distribution Companies (DisCos) to acquire meters for unmetered Band A customers within the next three months.


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