Gist: Pre-paid meters no longer free, says NERC ,like it has ever been free.  (Read 1519 times)

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CITING unforeseen circumstances, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has amended its earlier directive that electricity consumers should not pay for pre-paid meters.

Instead, the commission said Wednesday that those customers who were yet to get the pre-paid meters and who were still receiving ‘crazy estimated bills’ were at liberty to pay for meters to enable them control their electricity consumption.

NERC also promised to make electricity distribution companies (DISCOs) to meter all customers who had previously paid for meters pre-July 1, 2012 and were yet to receive them within 45 days. Punitive action has also been rolled out for distribution companies which fail to obey this new directive.

The Guardian had disclosed in an exclusive cover report last December that the government’s plans of metering all customers within 18 months was under threat because of an alleged diversion of N46 billion MYTO 2 fund to settling historical debts of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN).

And amid clamour for the review of the new electricity tariff, NERC is also to hold a public hearing for small and medium enterprises and other stakeholders to contribute to arriving at a more affordable fixed charge in order to ensure the sustenance and growth of the sector.

The Chairman of NERC, Sam Amadi, who addressed a press briefing on the revision of the earlier free meter directive, stressed that any customer who wishes to pay for the meter now would be compensated over time. In return for paid meters, such customers would get energy credit and reduction in their fixed charges over time.

Amadi said: “Willing customers can advance money to the distribution companies after which a meter will be installed on their premises within a stipulated time frame. In exchange for this advance, the DISCOs will in turn, reduce the customer’s electricity bills on a monthly basis to the tune of the amount originally advanced by the customers.”

He said the commission would accredit meter vendors to supply and install meters directly to customers.



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