The Federal Government announced on Wednesday an increase in the prices of single-phase and three-phase pre-paid electricity meters and declared that the hike takes effect on September 6, 2023.
It announced this in an order released by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission with number NERC/2023/020 and jointly signed by the commission’s Chairman, Sanusi Garba, and its Commissioner, Legal, Licensing, and Compliance, Dafe Akpeneye.
In the order, the government stated that a single-phase meter would now cost N81,975.16k from the previous price of N58,661.69k, while the price of a three-phase meter was raised to N143,836.10k from N109,684.36k.
This was, however, kicked against by power consumers, who wondered why the Federal Government had continued to hike the cost of various commodities in Nigeria’s energy sector.
But explaining why it hiked the costs of the meters, the NERC said it was to ensure fair and reasonable pricing of meters for both Meter Asset Providers and end-use customers.
It said the hike would ensure MAP’s ability to recover reasonable costs associated with meter procurement and maintenance while ensuring that their pricing structure allowed for a viable return on investment.
“Evaluate the affordability of meter services for consumers, aiming to prevent excessive pricing that could burden end-users. Ensure that MAPs are able to provide meters to end-use customers in the prevailing economic realities,” the commission stated.
It said the closure of the metering gap for end-use customers was fundamental to the financial sustainability of the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry as end-use meters provide revenue assurance to both the utility and their end-use customers.
“The Meter Asset Provider Scheme is one of the four frameworks in the regulations for the provision of meters to end-use customers in NESI.
“Section 8(1)(c) of the regulations provides that the costs of single-phase and three-phase meters issued by MAPs, inclusive of all other associated costs of installation and warranties, shall be at the regulated rates approved by the commission.
“The commission notes that significant changes in macroeconomic indicators, such as inflation and changes in the foreign exchange rates, have necessitated a review of the regulated rates for MAP meters,” the NERC stated.
It said the commission also considered relevant data on the significant changes in macroeconomic indicators from the Central Bank of Nigeria and the National Bureau of Statistics as benchmarks for the meter price review.
Meanwhile, the commission stated that the costs of single-phase and three-phase meters for MAPs, inclusive of all other associated costs of installation and warranties, shall remain at the regulated rates approved by the NERC.
It said the approved meter prices were exclusive of value-added tax but noted that they were inclusive of the revised Nigerian Electricity Management Services Agency sealing cost.
It stated that the sealing cost for a single-phase meter was N842.80 per unit, while that of a three-phase meter was N1,100.80 per unit.
“All MAPs shall adjust their prices to reflect the approved rates. All MAPs shall supply meters previously paid for by end-use customers prior to the commencement of this order at the prevailing rate when payment was made by the customers without additional increase in cost.
“All Discos and MAPs are to develop and implement customer enlightenment campaigns on the price review along with a schedule for the implementation of their meter rollout plans. All MAPs shall continue to file monthly sales and meter installation returns with the commission,” the industry regulator stated.
Power users opposed the hike in the prices of meters, as they called on the government to consider the plights of Nigerians and reverse the increase.
“They (the government) have been talking about this since the unification of the foreign exchange rates, but we warned against it due to the plights being faced by Nigerians currently,” the National Secretary of the Nigeria Electricity Consumer Advocacy Network, Uket Obonga, stated.
He said the hike was due to pressure from Meter Asset Providers on the government, as some of the MAPs threatened to pull out of the provision of meters if the cost of the equipment remained the same.
He said that Nigerian consumers were now grappling with excessive rise in the costs of different products in the energy sector, including the increase in fuel prices, diesel prices, meter prices, etc.