• Sunday, May 26, 2024
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How NERC’s new deregulated meter prices empower electricity consumers

How NERC’s new deregulated meter prices empower electricity consumers

The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has implemented a new regulation that puts more power in the hands of consumers when it comes to metering under the Meter Asset Provider (MAP) Scheme for end-user customers.

This guideline, centred around metering, aims to place more control in the hands of consumers, fostering transparency and accountability within the electricity sector.

Competitive bidding

According to the circular, from May 1, all prices of meters under the MAP scheme will be determined through a competitive bidding process with customers provided with a choice of authorised vendors.

“The cost of prices of meters deployed under the MAP scheme is thereby to enable end-use customers to acquire meters from MAPS of their choice based on competitive open market prices determined from transparent bidding frameworks,” NERC said.

This development is expected to foster transparency and reduce prices, as customers will have the freedom to select their preferred meter providers among those authorised under the scheme.

In September 2023, NERC approved an increase in the prices of single-phase electricity meters to N81,975.16 and three-phase meters was increased to N143,836.10.

The deregulation lifts previous restrictions, allowing all MAP permit holders to provide services across all Electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) in the Federal Republic of Nigeria, provided they meet specific requirements.

This broader operational scope is anticipated to increase competition among MAPs, potentially leading to better services and innovations in metering solutions.

Consumer rights & protection

Further findings showed the new guideline also empowers electricity customers to choose their preferred MAP and meter types, which align with their specific energy needs.

Additionally, stringent measures have been placed to ensure the timely installation of meters, with penalties for MAPs that fail to meet installation deadlines.

“All DisCos shall ensure the effective and seamless integration of smart meters deployed by MAPs with the DisCo’s head-end and meter data management systems,” NERC said in a circular jointly signed by Sanusi Garba, the commission’s Chairman and Dafe Akpeneye, its commissioner legal, licencing and compliance.

“All DisCos shall provide a publicly accessible online portal on their website where prospective MAPs can view the DisCo’s technical specifications and commercial terms for participation as a MAP within its network area,” it said.

Diverse meter options

The deregulation also introduces flexibility in the types of meters available under the MAP scheme.

DisCos can now offer basic electronic meters, Internet of Things meters, Deutsches Institut für Normung rail meters, and current limiters, depending on the customer’s energy consumption profile.

While deregulating meter prices, NERC will oversee the submission of price offers from MAPs to ensure fair competition.

This includes a requirement for MAPs to hold a minimum stock of 2,000 units of meters as an eligibility criterion for participation in the bidding process.