Power consumers are going to start paying more for prepaid meters as the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission has hiked the cost of the commodity.
It was gathered in Abuja on Monday that the commission had increased the price for a three-phase meter from N67,055 to N82,855.19, while the cost of a single-phase meter was raised from N36,991 to N44.896.16.
Operators in the sector told our correspondent that the new prices were contained in a memo signed by the NERC Chairman, Prof. James Momoh, pegging the new price pursuant to section 19 (d) of the Meter Asset Providers regulation.
But the introduction of the MAP model, according to stakeholders, had yet to adequately address the meter demands of customers.
Providing reasons for the increase in meter cost, Momoh was said to have explained that the hike in foreign exchange rate by the Central Bank of Nigeria was a contributory factor.
He was quoted to have said, “In arriving at the approved unit costs, the commission has considered the recent changes in foreign exchange approved by the CBN and the applicable rate available to importers of meter components or fully assembled meters through investors and exporters’ forex window.”
Figures from the commission showed that out of a total of 8,310,408 registered active electricity customers, only 3,704,302 (44.6 per cent) had been metered.
This indicated that 55.4 per cent of end-user customers were still on estimated billing.
Power users had repeatedly condemned the inability of the regulatory commission and power distributors to provide prepaid meters since the sector was privatised in November 2013.
Power distributors, on their part, had subtly handed over the task of providing meters to the Meter Asset Providers introduced by the NERC.