Ikeja Electric, one of the nation’s power distribution companies, has said it can no longer invest in customer metering.
The company said in a public notice on Thursday that it would not refund payments made by customers for the purchase of meters under the Meter Asset Provider scheme introduced by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission in 2018.
It said, “Contrary to media reports that IE will refund cost of MAP prepaid meters, customers are now by law obliged to pay for their prepaid meters in accordance with the Meter Asset Provider Regulation 2018 made pursuant to the Electric Power Sector Reform Act 2005.
“Ikeja Electric by law can no longer invest in customer metering unless with the express approval of its regulator because it is not permitted to recoup returns on such metering investment.”
According to the notice, the power firm has appointed three MAPs who are currently working with it to provide meters to its customers.
“In order to fast-track meter deployment to its customers, IE has commenced the process of appointing additional MAP companies to aid the speedy deployment of meters for purchase by customers,” it added.
NERC, on March 8, 2018, approved the MAP Regulation, aimed at fast-tracking the closure of the metering gap in the sector through the engagement of third-party investors for the financing, procurement, supply, installation and maintenance of electricity meters.
The commission, which set a target of metering all customers within three years, directed the Discos and the meter asset providers to commence the roll-out of meters not later than May 1, 2019.
It said customers should expect meters to be installed on their premises within 10 working days of making payment to MAPs.
NERC, in its recent order on capping of estimated bills dated February 20, 2020, said several constraints, including changes in fiscal policy and the limited availability of long-term funding, had led to limited success in the meter rollout.