• Tuesday, July 23, 2024
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11 DisCos get N21bn to procure, install meters for unmetered Band ‘A’ customers

prepaid electricity meters

The eleven electricity distribution companies (DisCos) have received a total of N21 billion from the Meter Acquisition Fund (MAF) scheme for the procurement and installation of meters for unmetered Band ‘A’ customers within their franchise areas.

The total fund, according to the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), is the first tranche of disbursement from the MAF scheme based on contributions made by DisCos as of the April 2024 market settlement.

According to an order on the operationalisation of ‘Tranche A of the Meter Acquisition Fund’ issued by NERC and sighted by BusinessDay, of the total sum, Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) received N2.99 billion, Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) N1.57 billion, Eko Electricity Distribution Company (EKEDC) N2.92 billion, Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC) N1.72 billion, Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC) N2.51 billion.

Total amounts received by other DisCos are Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company (IE) N4.35 billion, Jos Electricity Distribution Company (JEDC) N521 million, Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company (KAEDC) N1.22 billion, Kano Electricity Distribution Company (KEDCO) N1.56 billion, Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (PHEDC) N1.36 billion and Yola Electricity Distribution Company (YEDC) N243 million respectively.

The introduction of the MAF followed the failures of previous programs and strategies including the Meter Asset Provider (MAP) Regulations 2018 and subsequently, the Meter Asset Provider and National Mass Metering [MAP&NMMR) Regulations in 2021, introduced by past administrations to address metering challenges in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI). This is as the total metering gap currently stands in excess of 7 million customers.

According to NERC, the inability of DisCos to raise financing in the form of debt or additional equity was identified as the major constraint in the acquisition and deployment of end-use meters and other capital investments.

The commission said: “The Meter Acquisition Fund (MAF) scheme was therefore developed and approved by the Commission, primarily to address the challenge of DisCo creditworthiness inhibiting the deployment of end-use meter in NESÏ by creating a credible revenue stream from the market funds on the back of which long term financing may be secured by the utilities.

“The Federal Government has approved the Presidential Metering Initiative (PMI) with the overarching objective of closing the metering gap in the NESI within three years leveraging on smart metering technologies for data analytics.

“The MAF shall form one of the revenue streams for the repayment of the long-tenor financing for metering. The Commission approved the deregulation of meter prices under the MAP scheme vide Order NERC/2024/040 to ensure on efficient pricing of meters while responding more quickly to changes in macroeconomic parameters. The Order provides that all prices of meters under the MAP scheme shall be determined through a transparent and competitive bidding process by eligible MAPs.

“The funds accrued as at the April 2024 market settlement cycle and available for procurement of meters under the first tranche of the MAF scheme is in the sum of NGN21.86 billion. The Commission hereby approves the use of a sum of NGN21 billion apportioned pro rata to contribution by the DisCos as Tranche A of the MAF scheme.”

It noted that while the NESI is expected to leverage on the revenue stream under the MAF framework to raise substantial capital funding for metering, there is an imperative to accelerate the closure of the metering gap for all customers currently classified under tariff Band A, for revenue protection and facilitating demand side management for the affected customers.