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Amid billing controversies, NERC approves 22 firms for meter procurement

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Consumers with prepaid meters rose to 1.59m in Q1 2018 –NBS

As Nigerians continue to cry out over the non-availability of pre-paid meters, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) says it has given approval to 22 firms seeking to procure and install meters for power consumers across the country.

According to the commission, this is aimed at bridging the wide metering gap in the power sector.

A statement by its General Manager, Public Affairs, Usman Abba-Arabi, in Abuja, said it has issued “No Objection” certificates to 22 approved firms to participate in the meter procurement process which is expected to help the 11 electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos).

The development followed its approval of the Meter Asset Provider (MAP) Regulations, 2018, and harvest of applications from interested investors.

According to the commission, the effort was to bridge about five million metering gaps in their networks as well as reduce or end the practice of estimated electricity bills often regarded as ‘crazy bills’ by Nigerians.

The MAP regulations mandate electricity DisCos to engage meter assets providers, who will fund purchase, installation and replacement of meters, to meet DisCos’ metering obligations to their customers.

“This is to ensure that all electricity customers are metered thereby reducing incidences of estimated electricity billing to the barest minimum.

“The commission, having conducted due diligence on the supporting documents to the applications submitted by interested investors, has granted successful applicants ‘No Objection’ to participate in the procurement process for meter assets provision in accordance with Section 8 subsection 4 of the Meter Assets Providers Regulations, 2018,” the statement read.

NERC, however, stated that members of the public and intending investors should note that the publication of the successful companies did not foreclose other interested applicants from getting the “No Objection” as it was a continuous exercise.

Read Also: NNPC, NAOC to increase power grid by 500MW

Companies granted the “No Objection” include Huawei Technology Company Nigeria Ltd, Bilview Energy Ltd, Chintech Electro Nigeria Ltd, Holley Metering Ltd, MEMCOL, and Meron Nigeria Ltd., Integrated Power, MBH Power, Trimani Engineering, Sapropel Energy Resources, Megawatt Distribution International, and Unistar Hi-Tech Systems.

Others are Imperial Infrastructure Development Company, Ratio Consulting, Protogy Global Services, Paktim Metering, Sabrud Consortium, Tinuten, Kayz Consortium, BTS Power, CIG Metering Assets, and Cresthill Energy.

Since privatization of the power sector in Nigeria, not much seems to have changed, as inappropriate charges arising from estimated billings that had bedevilled the sector over the years became aggravated.

Since the structures were handed over to the private owners there have been different controversies between the distribution companies and consumers on the one hand, and between the DISCOs and government on the other.

The DISCOs seem unable to provide adequate meters, hence it has resorted to the estimated billing system to charge consumers, even as many complaints that they are charged for electricity not consumed.

 

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