Consumers are enjoying themselves as FG raises the prices of prepaid meters

Consumers are enjoying themselves as FG raises the prices of prepaid meters

Electricity consumers willing to pay for meters will face higher costs starting November 15, 2021 as the federal government has raised the prices of both single-phase and three-phase meters.

But consumers opposed the move and wondered why there would be a rise in meter prices when the government announced last year that it would provide them with free meters.

The government announced the increase in the price of meters with a circular of 11 November 2021, issued by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission and addressed to CEOs, all electricity distribution companies and all metering service providers.

The circular, with reference number NERC / REG / MAP / GEN / 751/2, was entitled “Revision of the unit price of final meters pursuant to the Meter Asset Provider and the National Mass Measurement Regulation”.

In the document, the regulator increased the price of a single-phase meter from N44,896.17 to N58,661.69 and that of a three-phase meter from N82,855.19 to N109,684.36.

The NERC had approved an increase in the prices of meters in June of last year. It has increased the price of a three-phase meter from N67,055.85 to N82,855.19 at the moment, while that of a single-phase meter has been increased from N36,991.50 to N44,896.17.

Explaining why it raised the price of meters again this year, the commission said the development was due to the country’s macroeconomic parameters.

“In accordance with the provisions of the Meter Asset Provider and the National Mass Metering Regulations, the NERC acknowledges the recent changes in macroeconomic parameters and hereby approves an upward revision of the unit price of meters,” he said.

According to NERC, all prices are exclusive of value added tax.

He said that in order to arrive at the approved unit price, the commission had, in particular, only considered changes in exchange rates and inflation since the last revision in June 2020.

“This price revision is subject to changes at the conclusion of the procurement process under Phase 1 of the National Mass Measurement Program. This price revision is effective from November 15, 2021 “, stated the NERC in the circular, signed by its president, Sanusi Garba.

Following the latest development, some of the nearly seven million customers without meters are expected to pay for meters.

The federal government said late last month that it had provided about one million free meters to electricity consumers in the past 10 months under its NMMP.

It also revealed that the number of unlimited users in Nigeria has increased by around two million, while the measurement gap at the start of NMMP in 2020 was around six million.

This was revealed by the president’s special assistant for infrastructure, Ahmed Zakari, during a live monitored television interview in Abuja.

In response to the latest NERC announcement, Nigeria Electricity Consumers Advocacy Network’s National Secretary, Uket Obonga, described the development as confusing.

He said: “How do you distinguish between the meters that you pay for with MAP and NMMP, which should be free because the CBN funds them? I ask why there is no difference.

“Most of the clubs sell the free counters provided by NMMP and classify them as MAP counters. So, the question is, which category of meters will be affected by this price increase? “

Obonga added. “I recently ran a customer engagement program in Uyo, Akwa Ibom state, and customers confronted me with meter payment receipts that were meant for free. Hence, there is no distinction between free NMMP meters and MAP meters that should be paid for.

“The free meters are sold by nightclubs under MAP. So how does it increase when we can’t even differentiate which is which? You hardly get free meters; people pay them. So, this move should be kicked in. “

An industry expert and legal professional, Kunle Olubiyo, said the government should reintroduce or change the credit prepayment scheme for metering implementation, introduced in 2013 to allow customers to be reimbursed by nightclubs when they buy meters. .

Olubiyo, who is also president of Nigeria Consumer Protection Network, said: “We have had about five measurement schemes with different patterns that have changed.

“But the way to go is for us to reorganize, recalibrate or go back to CAPMI. Whatever we have, whether it is MAP or NMMP, we should harmonize or synchronize them and have it as a renamed model of the CAPMI. “

He added: “It is a disservice to experienced users that we don’t have a functioning measurement system until now. As the customers are not equity shareholders in the club’s share, they cannot invest in the activities of these clubs.

“So if we pay for the meters, which we shouldn’t do, they have to pay us back the money as allowed in the CAPMI model. Furthermore, the regulator must be considered firm in this matter “.

But the presidential aide on Friday argued that the meters are free according to the NMMP, noting that customers who get the meters under the mass metering program would not be affected by the change.

“This price change has no impact on a consumer who gets a meter under NMMP,” Zakari said.

According to him the regulation is clear and even if you decide to pay, there will be a refund procedure.

He said 90% of the meters on the market will go through NMMP in the short term.

Also commenting on the rise in meter prices, the president of the Electricity Consumers Association of Nigeria, James Chijioke, wondered why the government and its agencies were aggravating the conditions of electric users.

The lawyer said: “ECAN is deeply concerned about the rising cost of prepaid meters despite the current difficulties faced by consumers nationwide. We believe NERC should look into implementing policies that help stabilize consumers, not those that aggravate the burden and price of electricity out of reach for low-income workers.

“And this happens when there is no proportionate increase in salary and income, thus creating more inconvenience. This will affect the nation’s overall productivity and economy. We believe this policy has been synchronized incorrectly. “

Source: – Punch Ng

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