Electricity distribution companies (DisCos) seem to be making a headway in their bid to secure funds for capital projects.
The Executive Director, Research and Advocacy, Association of Nigeria Electricity Distributors (ANED), Mr. Sunday Oduntan, said the firms would make enough money from the new metering plan which will take efect from next month.
The power firms, he said, would rake in a lot of money which they will help finance critical projects such as provision of meters to customers.
In a chat with The Nation, Oduntan said the firms are unable to provide meters, among financing other investments, due to limited funds at their disposal.
“The Capital Expenditure (CAPEX) set by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) in the DisCos’ tariff plan was not enough to meet the metering target and finance other investments such as installation of transformers. But with the new metering plan in place, the DisCos would not find it difficult getting funds for operation. They would make money by playing the role of Meter Asset Providers (MAPs). By this, the power firms would serve the dual roles of providing meters to customers as well as claiming the ownership of the meters,”he said.
According to him, the new plan would help DisCos bridge a four million metering gap as well as put an end to estimated billings in the industry. According to him, the new metering plan is timely as NERC has fixed 2020 as deadline for the termination of estimated billings.
The metering gap, he said, has widened because the DisCos were unable to get money for metering purpose. “You will see that the firms have enough time to make money when considering the fact they have 15 years as tenure to operate as MAP licensors. That period is enough for a company that has a goal to make money for its operation. This is aside the fact that it can renew its operating licences for such role,” he said.
It would be recalled that power firms have been finding it difficult funding their operation. The problem dated back to the privatisation period of 2013, which has seen the electricity distributors facing a herculean task of meeting customers’ expectation.
To reposition the sector for growth, NERC came out with a draft regulation in the last quarter of last year. The draft regulation, which was discussed by NERC, DisCos and other stakeholders, resulted in the introduction of the metering plan.
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