• Thursday, July 18, 2024
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Ikeja, Abuja DisCos to lead meter installation drive for Band ‘A’ customers

Ikeja, Abuja DisCos to lead meter installation drive for Band ‘A’ customers

Ikeja Electric, Abuja and Eko Electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) are set to receive N10.27 billion among themselves from the approved “Tranche A” N21 billion Meter Acquisition Fund (MAF) to procure and install prepaid meters at no cost to unmetered Band A customers, who receive a minimum of 20 hours of electricity per day.

In an Order, No: NERC/2024/072, dated June 19, 2024, Ikeja Electric was allocated N4.36 billion out of the approved “Tranche A” N21 billion meant for meteing unmetered Band A customers while Abuja and Eko DisCo were allocated N2.99 billion and N2.92 bilion respectively.

The Order was signed by Sanusi Garba and Dafe Akpeneye, Chairman and Commissioner (Legal, Licensing & Compliance) of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), respectively, for the 11 DisCos to provide prepaid meters, following the disbursement of MAF.

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Other allocations include Ibadan DisCo (N2.5 billion), Enugu DisCo (N1.7 billion), Benin DisCo (N1.6 billion), Kano DisCo (N1.6 billion) Port Harcourt (N1.4 billion), Kaduna DisCo (N1.2 billion), Jos DisCo (N0.5 billion), and Yola DisCo (N0.2 billion).

NERC in the Order stated that the amount is apportioned pro rata to contributions made by the Discos. According to the Commission, the meters to be procured and installed under the MAF framework will be provided at no cost to the Band A customers.

The Commission said that despite previous initiatives like the Meter Asset Provider and National Mass Metering Regulations of 2021, metering challenges in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) persist, with a national metering gap exceeding seven million customers.

It also identified the inability of the 11 DisCos to secure financing for meter acquisition and other capital investments as a major constraint.

To address this, NERC emphasised that it developed and approved the MAF scheme, designed to enhance Disco creditworthiness by creating a credible revenue stream from market funds, thereby enabling long-term financing.

The N21 billion MAF, according to the Commission, was managed by a Fund Manager (FM) under terms negotiated by the DisCos and approved by the Commission.

It also established that the fund would support the Presidential Metering Initiative’s goal of closing the NESI’s metering gap within three years using smart metering technologies for data analytics.

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NERC stated that the MAF will also serve as one of the revenue streams for repaying long-tenor financing for metering.

Garba, in the order, stated that deploying funds under the MAF scheme will accelerate meter deployment, reduce commercial and collection losses, enhance service quality, and improve customer satisfaction.

“The Federal Government and DisCos must expedite closing the metering gap for Band A customers to protect revenue and facilitate demand-side management.”