As against its initial wish, the Federal Government has said that it will not oppose the desire of electricity consumers that are willing to pay for meters from their distribution companies based on agreement between both parties as endorsed by the power sector regulator.
In April 2016, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, had directed the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to immediately discontinue its alternative metering scheme, the Credited Advance Payment for Metering Initiative, which allowed customers to pay for electricity meters from their respective Discos.
However, while speaking at the 18th monthly power sector meeting, on Tuesday in Abuja, the minister disclosed that he has been receiving several requests from the Discos that their customers still wanted to pay for meters.
He said, “Please recall that government had in the past attempted to intervene in meter supply through CAPMI, which ultimately I decided we should wind down because of the distrust and disaffection it was creating between consumers and Discos with government caught in the middle with numerous petitions by customers who paid for meters that were not delivered within the approved time.
“Some Discos have come back to say that their customers still want to pay for meters and they can reach agreements with them on how to pay for it. Government will not stand in the way of such an agreement. It is consistent with the intent of privatisation envisioned by the Electric Power Sector Reform Act or at least it does not violate the Act.”
“What I will reiterate is that the Discos have the obligation to meter customers because they are the ones who charge for electricity which must be measured. If the customers and the Discos reach an agreement between themselves, where the customer assumes the responsibility of the Disco of his own free will and NERC sanctions this agreement, then so be it.
“The difference between this kind of agreement and CAPMI is that it is not a government initiative. However, through NERC, government will monitor and regulate to ensure that Discos do not use this as an excuse to abdicate their responsibility to provide meters.”