The price of single-phase and three-phase pre-paid power meters will increase, the federal government stated on Wednesday. The increase will go effective on September 6, 2023.
The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission made this announcement in an order that was issued with the NERC/2023/020 number and was jointly signed by the commission’s Chairman, Sanusi Garba, and its Commissioner for Legal, Licensing, and Compliance, Dafe Akpeneye.
According to the government’s order, the cost of a single-phase meter has increased from N58,661.69 to N81,975.16 and the cost of a three-phase meter has increased from N109,684.36 to N143,836.10.
However, power users fought back against this, questioning why the Federal Government kept raising the price of key commodities in Nigeria’s energy industry.
To ensure fair and reasonable pricing of meters to both Meter Asset Providers and end-use consumers, the NERC explained why it increased the price of the meters.
It claimed that the price increase would guarantee MAP’s capacity to recoup acceptable expenses related to the acquisition and upkeep of meters while ensuring that their pricing structure permitted a workable return on investment.
“Assess the consumer-affordability of meter services with a view to avoiding exorbitant pricing that would burden end-users. Ascertain that MAPs can offer meters to end-use customers in light of the current economic situation, the panel urged.
End-use meters guarantee revenue for both the utility and their end-use customers, hence closing the metering gap for these customers was essential to the financial viability of the Nigerian electricity supply industry, according to the report.
One of the four frameworks in the NESI regulations for providing meters to end-use consumers is the Meter Asset Provider scheme.
According to Section 8(1)(c) of the regulations, single-phase and three-phase meters provided by MAPs, as well as any additional installation and warranty fees, must be purchased at regulated prices that have been approved by the commission.
“The commission notes that significant changes in macroeconomic indicators, such as inflation and changes in the foreign exchange rates, have necessitated a review of the regulated rates for MAP meters,” the NERC said.
According to the statement, the panel used the Central Bank of Nigeria’s and the National Bureau of Statistics’ pertinent information on noteworthy changes in macroeconomic indicators as benchmarks for the meter price review.
While this was going on, the commission said that the prices for MAP single-phase and three-phase meters, as well as any other installation and warranty charges, would continue to be regulated and certified by the NERC.
The new Nigerian Electricity Management Services Agency sealing fee was mentioned as being included in the authorized meter costs, which were stated to be exclusive of Value Added Tax.
The cost of sealing a single-phase meter was listed as N842.80 per unit, while the cost of sealing a three-phase meter was listed as N1,100.80 per unit.
“All MAPs shall adjust their prices to reflect the approved rates. All MAPs shall supply meters previously paid for by end-use customers prior to the commencement of this order at the prevailing rate when payment was made by the customers without additional increase in cost.
“All Discos and MAPs are to develop/implement customer enlightenment campaigns on the price review along with a schedule on the implementation of their meter rollout plans. All MAPs shall continue to file monthly sales and meter installation returns with the commission,” the industry regulator stated.
Power users opposed the hike in the prices of meters, as they called on the government to consider the plights of Nigerians and reverse the increase.
“They (government) have talking about this since the unification of the foreign exchange rates, but we warned against it due to the plights being faced by Nigerians currently,” the National Secretary, Nigeria Electricity Consumer Advocacy Network, Uket Obonga, stated.
He said the hike was due to pressure from Meter Asset Providers on the government, as some of the MAPs threatened to pull out from the provision of meters if the cost of the equipment remained the same.
He told our correspondent that Nigerian consumers were now grappling with excessive rise the costs of different products in the energy sectors, including the increase in fuel price, diesel price, meter price, etc.