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Discos blame poor customer metering on high import duty

Nigeria's power transmission capacity increases to 8000MW —TCN

Power distribution companies (Discos) on Sunday blamed the outrageous import duty on meters, imposed by the Nigerian government, for the low metering of electricity users in the country.

In a statement issued by the Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors (ANED) in Abuja yesterday, the Discos appealed to the Nigerian government for a downward review of duty on imported meters to enhance faster metering of electricity consumers, which will in turn speed up the ending of the estimated billing regime.

Sunday Oduntan, Executive Director Research and Advocacy at ANED, said in the statement that a number of the Meters Asset Providers (MAP) had the capacity to install around 3,000 meters per day for the Discos provided the meters were available.

“These are separate companies but DISCOs support Meter Assets Providers, MAP, and we want them to succeed.

Read also: NERC to sanction seven DisCos for flouting directive on capping of estimated billing

“There should be zero per cent import duty on meters. We must assist local meter manufacturers to bring in components duty-free until Ajaokuta Steel Company is ready. The high import duty at the ports is killing the power sector.

“When Customers are metered, they would be happy. Estimated billing is not good for the DISCOs revenue collection drive.

“While those importing meters are finding it hard because of the import duty, the local meter manufacturers are also finding it difficult to continue production because they have to pay import duty on at least seven different components which they import for use in producing the meters in Nigeria,” he said.

ANED maintained that Discos could not be blamed for the present slow process of providing meters because the function had been transferred to MAP since the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) implemented the MAP regulation in 2019 by giving permits to metering firms to supply and install meters for Discos.

The Discos also stated the import duty and other hurdles hindering the implementation of the MAP regulation might make implementation of the NERC order, requesting Discos to provide meters to all electricity consumers by 2021, unrealistic.

“On the part of the Federal Government, what has it done to ensure that the meters are available for them to be installed for the customers of the DISCOs? There is an urgent need for the Government to intervene so that there will be more meters available to be installed,” the statement read in part.

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