Consumers kick as FG raises prices of prepaid meters

By Okechukwu Nnodim

Electricity consumers willing to pay for meters will have to incur higher costs beginning from November 15, 2021 as the Federal Government has increased the prices of both single-phase and three-phase meters.

But consumers have kicked against the move and wondered why there would be an increase in the prices of meters when the government had announced last year that it was providing free meters to them.

The government announced the meter price increase in a circular dated November 11, 2021, issued by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission and addressed to managing directors, all electricity distribution companies and all meter asset providers.

The circular, with reference number NERC/REG/MAP/GEN/751/2, was entitled ‘Review of the unit price of end-use meters under the Meter Asset Provider and National Mass Metering Regulations’.

In the document, the regulator raised the price of a single-phase meter from N44,896.17 to N58,661.69, and that of a three-phase meter from N82,855.19 to N109,684.36.

The NERC had in June last year approved a hike in the prices of meters. It increased the price of a three-phase meter from N67,055.85 to N82,855.19 at the time, while that of a single-phase meter was raised from N36,991.50 to N44,896.17.

Explaining why it raised the price of meters again this year, the commission said the development was due to the macro-economic parameters in the country.

“Pursuant to the provisions of the Meter Asset Provider and National Mass Metering Regulations, the NERC note the recent changes in macro-economic parameters and hereby approve an upward review of the unit price of meters,” it said.

According to NERC, all prices are exclusive of Value Added Tax.

It said in arriving at the approved unit price, the commission had, in particular, only considered changes in foreign exchange and inflation since the last review of June 2020.

“This price review is subject to change upon the conclusion of the procurement process under phase 1 of the National Mass Metering Programme. This price review is effective from November 15, 2021,” the NERC said in the circular, which was signed by its Chairman, Sanusi Garba.

Going by the latest development, some of the nearly seven million customers without meters would have to pay for meters.

The Federal Government had said late last month that it provided about one million free meters for electricity consumers in the past 10 months under its NMMP.

It also revealed that the number of unmetered power users in Nigeria had increased by about two million, while the metering gap at the start of the NMMP in 2020 was about six million.

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