Okechukwu Nnodim, Abuja
Power consumers on Monday expressed their readiness to pay the prescribed meter service charge contained in the recently unveiled 2018 Meter Asset Provider Regulations by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission.
According to them, it is better to pay the fee and get meters than to continue paying a tariff that is meant to provide free meters but has failed to do so.
Earlier this month, The PUNCH reported a declaration by NERC that power distribution companies no longer have the sole responsibility of providing meters to electricity consumers anymore.
The commission also introduced the 2018 MAPR, which brought another class of operators in the power sector called Meter Asset Providers.
NERC stated that the regulation came into effect on March 8, 2018, adding that “the provisions of these regulations shall be enforced by the commission from the 3rd day of April, 2018.”
Reacting to the development, power users, who spoke under the aegis of National Electricity Consumers Advocacy Network, told our correspondent in Abuja that the new regulation would curtail the payment of bribes to officials of electricity distribution firms for meters.
Speaking after a nationwide consultation with various consumers groups, the Chairman, NECAN, Tomi Akingbogun, said, “Under the 2018 MAPR, power users will have to pay meter service charge that is separate from the energy bill.
“Hence, the customer will be paying for the meters and removing the responsibility of meter provision from the power distributors. Consumers are happy with the regulation because in the first place, the free meters are not available and the Discos are giving customers estimated bills that are far higher than what they would have paid if they had meters.
“Some customers even pay bribes in order to access meters. This is because it is better to have a meter than to pay for power when you have it and when you don’t have it through estimated billing.”
Akingbogun noted that the metering deadline given the Discos by NERC had elapsed two years ago, while millions of customers were still unmetered.
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