Electricity metering gulps N11 billion in four states as MAP scheme drags
• EKDC, IKEDC keep mum over no of distributed meters
No less than N11 billion has been invested in metering electricity consumers in Kogi, Abuja, Nasarawa and Niger States as part of efforts to bridge the shortfall in metering gap and reduce estimated billing of consumers in the country.
The Meter Asset Providers (MAPs) scheme which was expected to commence in May, this year, continues to experience several bottlenecks as distribution companies drag its implementation.
When The Guardian reached out to operators with the largest distribution network, Eko Distribution Company and Ikeja Disco, on the number of meter installations recorded so far, no response was provided, despite consumer complaints about metering gaps in many parts of Lagos.
While the Distribution Companies across the country had signed a Performance – Agreement to ensure that the gap in metering is bridged, the practice of estimated billing remained a critical challenge in the sector, as the agreement which commenced 1st January, 2015 is due for review next month.
A report by PWC had indicated that although, the 11 DisCos committed to metering 1.75million customers yearly, the metering capacity of the DisCos has been constrained due to limited allowable capital expenditure (“CAPEX”) in the Multi-Year Tariff Order (“MYTO”).
The total annual CAPEX provision of N46.3 billion in the MYTO, according to PwC, if utilised wholly for metering, is insufficient to meet the DisCos’ yearly metering commitment, which is estimated at N52.5 billion yearly.
Statistics released by Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) showed that between 2014 and 2018, the utility company provide 178,000 meters to its customers across its franchise areas, spending N11 billion.
This is coming few weeks after the House of Representatives seeks to criminalise estimated billing of electricity consumers by distribution companies.
While the Federal Government recently introduced a Meter Asset Providers (MAPs) scheme to bridge the metering gap, the AEDC noted that it has hit a 50,000 meter installation milestone within six months of the commencement of the regulation.
The statistics also indicated that the Disco had ordered for a total of 7,000 maximum demand and distribution transformer meters during the period at the cost of N1.7bn and installed 4,460 of them company-wide.
Mojec International is metering AEDC customers in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and Kogi; Turbo Energy is installing meters for AEDC customers in Niger State and Meron Company is installing meters for the customers in Nasarawa State.
The report shows that out of the verified 54,214 meter applications from customers under MAP, 49,285 meters have been installed and connected. It gave a breakdown of this MAP metering across its five regions in the FCT; Niger, Nasarawa and Kogi States.
The company installed 42,560 meters in the FCT, installed 11,208 meters in FCT West; 10,604 units in FCT South, and another 10,419 in FCT East. 6,256 meters were installed in FCT North and 4,073 units in FCT Central.
In Niger state, the DisCo installed 2,615 meters. Another 2,607 meters have been installed in Nasarawa State, and 1,503 units were installed in Kogi State, it stated.
Meters worth N3.634bn were installed in AEDC’s franchise area between 2014 and 2016, under the Credited Advance Payment for Metering Implementation (CAPMI), a regulation developed by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).
After CAPMI was wound off at the instance of NERC, “AEDC continued its obligation of providing meter for its customers to address the complaints of overbilling through the estimated billing methodology provided to DisCos by NERC.
“The DisCo invested N7.339bn on metering from 2016 to 2017. AEDC spent N10.742 billion on meters from 2014 to 2018 to demonstrate its investment focus and its capacity to turnaround the privatized power utility and give our customers the best experience and value for their money,” the group noted.