NNPCCOVID-19, internal factors may prolong 2021 metering target —Stakeholders

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By Shorunke Tunde

The Ikeja Electric power distribution company has said the COVID-19 pandemic and some internal factors may negatively affect 2021 metering target of the Meter Asset Providers (MAP) regulation.

On several occasions, Power Distribution Companies (DisCos) have lamented that current import duty and other challenges befalling the implementation of MAP, the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) order that DisCos should provide meters for all electricity consumers by 2021 may not be realistic.

The Head of Public Affairs of Ikeja Electric, Felix Ofulue, in a chat with Nigerian NewsDirect on the newly approved 42 MAP’s by NERC, said, “The approvals are not new. It’s the same approval we’ve been using before. I think they just make the announcement now and Ikeja Electric has been operating with MAP for the past two years.

“There are different factors which might contribute to MAP agenda of metering all electricity consumer before the end of 2021 which we  all also understand, especially the COVID-19 which makes us very uncertain and some other internal factors which might differ the scheduled time.”

Also speaking with Nigerian NewsDirect, the Deputy Head of Public Affairs of NERC, Mikel Faloseyi, said, “DisCos should be able to tell whether they can meet up with the MAP agenda or not.

“They are the one buying and installing meters. As a regulator we’ve given instruction that by the end of 2021 DisCos should be able to meter all electricity consumers. We only help them facilitate to help them do their work.”

Recall that NERC approved 42 MAPs for the 11 electricity DisCos in the country.

In 2018, the NERC introduced the MAP regulation to encourage new investments in the power sector, fast-track the roll-out of meters, and end the estimated billing regime.

In 2019, the commission issued permits to meter asset providers to begin the rollout of new prepaid meters.

According to the commission’s latest report, only 3.9 million of the registered 10.3 million subscribers in the country have prepaid meters.

On Tuesday, the NERC released the list of approved meter providers that will support the power distribution companies in reducing the huge metering gap in the country.

A breakdown showed that seven meter asset providers were each approved for Eko DisCo and Ibadan DisCo.

Five MAPs were each approved for Benin and Kano DisCos while Ikeja and Kaduna Discos got four meter service providers each.

Three meter providers were approved to distribute meters to consumers who receive power supply from the Abuja DisCo.

Two meter service providers each were approved for Enugu, Port Harcourt, and Yola DisCos while Jos DisCo got one meter service provider.

The NERC had given the DisCos a target to close the metering gap by December 2021.