The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) Friday announced the approval of N21 billion for the procurement of electricity meters for Band ‘A’ customers, explaining that the purchase and installation will come to end-users at no cost.

In an order signed by the commission’s Chairman, Sanusi Garba, and the Commissioner in charge of Legal, Licensing and Compliance, Dafe Akpeneye, NERC stated that the fund was the first tranche of the Presidential Metering Initiative (PMI) under the Meter Acquisition Fund (MAP).

NERC stated that although other regulations provided several options for metering of customers, but the interventions had not resulted in the closure of the national metering gap which currently stands in excess of 7 million customers.

It identified the inability of distribution companies (Discos) to raise financing in the form of debt or additional equity as the major constraint in the acquisition and deployment of end-use meters and other capital investments.

The MAF scheme, it said, was therefore developed and approved by the commission, primarily to address the challenge of Disco creditworthiness inhibiting the deployment of meters by creating a credible revenue stream from the market funds.

In addition, NERC stated that the presidential metering initiative has the overarching objective of closing the metering gap in the country within three years, leveraging on smart metering technologies for data analytics.

The deployment of funds under the MAF scheme, NERC explained, shall accelerate the deployment of meters and a closure of the current metering gap, thereby reducing commercial & collection losses to Discos, enhancing quality of service and improvement of customer satisfaction.

NERC pointed out that there was an imperative to accelerate a closure of the metering gap for all customers currently classified under tariff Band ‘A’ for the purpose of revenue protection and facilitating demand side management for the affected customers.

Out of the accrued available N21.86 billion under the MAF scheme as at the April 2024 market settlement cycle, NERC noted that it had made available the sum of N21 billion to be spent on the purchase of the metering devices.

The amount to be apportioned pro rata to contribution by the Discos as tranche ‘A’ of the MAF scheme, showed that Ikeja Disco will get the lion’s share of N4.35 billion, followed by Abuja Disco with N2.99 billion.

“All the meters to be procured and installed under the MAF framework shall be at no cost to the customers of the Discos,” the power sector regulatory agency stated.

Also, Eko Disco will get N2.92 billion, Ibadan Disco will have N2.51 billion of the first tranche, N1.72 billion will accrue to Enugu distribution company, Kano will get N1.58 billion, while Benin Disco will get N1.57 billion.

Besides, Port Harcourt Disco will get N1.36 billion, Kaduna gets N1.22 billion, while Jos Disco and Yola Electricity will get the least sum of N521 million and N243.3 million respectively.

The commission ordered that Discos shall utilise the first tranche of disbursement from the MAF scheme to procure and install meters for unmetered Band ‘A’ customers within their franchise areas.

“Discos shall, within 14 days from the effective date of this order, conduct a transparent and competitive procurement process, for meter price determination, selection and engagement…for the metering of end-use customer meters under the MAF scheme,” it added.

According to NERC, a report containing details of the process undertaken for the selection meter providers, including meter price, meter specifications, and the list of customers to be metered shall be sent to the commission for approval, within 20 days from the effective date of the order.

“The installation of contracted volume meters shall be completed within 60 days from the date of approval of the process by the commission, and all contracts for the supply and installation of meters shall be filed with the commission,” NERC stated.