Meter supply is Discos’ responsibility —FG

By Energy Worth

The Federal Government on Monday, announced that power distribution companies still had the responsibility of providing meters to customers as opposed to the recent position of the Discos.

It said the Meter Asset Provider Regulation, which was unveiled by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission in March this year, did not completely remove the responsibility of providing meters by the Discos.

The latest announcement by the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, however, contradicts the position of the Discos, whose spokesperson, Sunday Oduntan, recently stated that metering was now the responsibility of NERC.

NERC had announced on March 12 that power distributors would no longer have the sole responsibility of providing meters to electricity consumers.

It explained that its MAP Regulation had introduced another class of operators in the power sector called Meter Asset Providers, adding that MAPs would henceforth take up the duty of providing meters to customers, among other functions.

Based on this initiative, the Discos recently urged power users to understand that the responsibility of providing meters was now that of MAPs through the regulator.

“It looks like from now on metering is no more our business. Metering is now government’s business,” Oduntan said at a recent interview.

But while speaking at the 29th power sector stakeholders’ meeting organised by Mainstream Energy Solutions Limited on Monday, Fashola stated that metering was still a contractual obligation of the Discos despite the introduction of MAP.

He said, “MAP, which was introduced to address meter supply gaps, provides relief to the Discos of the financial burden of supplying meters, and allow entrepreneurs to take this up as a business and diversify source of meter supply.

“Regulations and conditions for operation were issued by NERC on 28th of March 2018. Part of the objectives of this policy was to give relief to the Discos of the financial burden of meters.

“This government’s intervention is part of its roles of enabling business in the sector; it does not relieve the Discos of their contractual obligations to provide meters. On the contrary, it seeks to help them to perform their contracts.”

The minister stated that the new regulation was being embraced, but stressed that the most pressing challenge in the sector was from the distribution arm.

Fashola said, “Those who know and who genuinely desire to solve problems in this industry do not need to be told that the most pressing challenge of the sector today lies at the distribution end.

“Among the challenges at this sector of the value chain, (and there are problems in gas, generation and transmission), the most urgent is the distribution of available energy to consumers; and there is unused energy in the region of 2,000 megawatts in this category.”

He added, “The other, of course, is the supply of meters to consumers. These two issues of power distribution and supply of meters rank highest in the feedback from the stakeholders in the industry.”