The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has stated that the wide metering gap, which is a major challenge in Nigeria’s power sector, will be closed within the next three years, with the effective implementation of the meter rollout plan by the distribution companies (Discos) under the Meter Asset Provider (MAP) scheme.
This is even as the commission disclosed that the present metering gap in the electricity industry was about five million compared to the total customer size of 8.8 million, which it said represented 57 per cent deficit in metering.
The Chairman of NERC, Prof. James Momoh, stated this yesterday in Lagos at the town hall meeting organised by the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) in collaboration with McArthur Foundation and the Ikeja Electric.
Momoh stressed that the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) considers metering critical in terms of returns on investment, which is required to sustain the entire value chain of NESI, thereby addressing the challenges of technical and commercial losses in revenue collection.
He said: “Metering is of great concern to the commission and the federal government. In light of this, the commission has instituted measures to accelerate metering through regulatory means such as the Meter Asset Provider Regulation of 2018.
“Data available to the commission indicates that the present metering gap in the industry is about 5, 046, 906 when compared to total customer size of 8, 840, 801 representing 57 per cent deficit in metering.
“However, the commencement of the Meter Asset Providers scheme, developed in line with the MAP Regulation 2018 will go a long way to assuage the long pressing issues of metering in line with the regulatory requirement.
The distribution companies have also done extensive work on their customer enumeration to determine the actual metering gap as well as perform adequate ‘Know Your Customer’ to reduce electricity theft and improve service delivery to esteemed customers.
“It is expected that the present metering gap would be closed within the next three years with the effective implementation of the Discos meter roll out plan under the MAP scheme.”
The NERC chair added that the commission has established Customer Complaints Forum Offices in 25 states of the federation as part of the redress mechanism for complaints to ensure that customer complaints were speedily resolved.
Momoh, who was represented at the meeting by the Deputy General Manager, Consumer Affairs, NERC, Mr. Shaibu Shittu, explained that members of the forum cut across representative of all the customer classes, industrial, commercial and residential as well as professional bodies drawn from within the locality and environs.
According to him, institutional agencies of government like the Consumer Protection Council, Professional bodies such as the Nigerian Society of Engineers, and civil society groups are also represented in the membership of the forum.
“This multifaceted representation is designed to enhance the confidence in the customer that some measure of fairness would accord the handling of electricity issues by the Customer Complaint Forum Office,” Momoh stressed.
He, however, described the meeting as “significant because any opportunity to project recent developments in the sector and attempt to resolve pressing consumer concerns all contribute to our collective resolve to take the Nigerian power sector to greater heights of efficiency and relevance.”
Momoh also appealed to customers to be patient in dealing with the Discos on meter installation and assured that the commission will not sit back and watch Nigerian electricity consumers continue to be exorbitantly charged or estimated for energy consumed or not consumed at all.