Consumers have kicked against the increased prices of electricity meters after the National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) announced new prices on Wednesday.
In an order NERC released on September 5,signed by the commission’s Chairman, Sanusi Garba, the new prices took effect from September 6, 2023.
According to the order, a single-phase meter would now cost N81,975.16k, against the previous price of N58,661.69k. Three-phase meters would cost N143,836.10k against the old price of N109,684.36k.
The commission approved an upward review of prices, citing “significant changes in macroeconomic indicators, such as inflation and changes in the foreign exchange rates” as reasons for the change.
While explaining reasons for the change, the commission stated that the hike was to ensure the recovery of reasonable costs and assured that the new prices would see to the fair pricing in of meters. According to the commission, the price review would ensure equitable meter pricing system for both Meter Asset Providers (MAPs) and end-user customers
“Ensure MAP’s ability to recover reasonable costs associated with meter procurement and maintenance while ensuring that their pricing structure allows 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 assured.
It also stated that closing the meter gap for end users was a necessary step for the financial sustainability of the Nigeria Electricity Supply Industry.
“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.
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However, while responding price review, the Chairman of Electricity Consumers Association, Chijoke James, issues concerning metering is the entire responsibility of the electricity distribution companies.
He further noted that if out that while consumers pay for meters, they should not be taken advantage of.
“A meter is an asset that enables the DisCos to do their business. First, transferring the burden of meter provision to the consumers is wrong. Now, where consumers have accepted to do this, they cannot be exploited,” James warned.
“The commission has always favoured the operators to the detriment of the consumers. Overtime, they have consistently increased tariff without the commensurate improvement in service delivery.
“The last increase was tagged service-based, but did service improve? Consumers were placed on bands based on the hours of supply they will get but did they get the supply?
“What action did NERC take against the DisCos for meeting the supply target? Nothing. Rather the Commission has approved a new tariff for the DisCos
“Individuals and communities keep making investments by purchasing transformers, cables, poles and other equipment but are not refunded by the DisCos and NERC.
“We want NERC to end estimated billing by compelling the DisCos to provide meters for every consumer. That is the way to go and not making consumers pay more for meters which are the statutory responsibility of DisCos, ” he stated.
This comes after two years after NERC approved upward review of prices for electricity meters. In November 2021 NERC increased the cost of electricity meters by 30 per cent.