The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has secured? the approval of the Presidential Action Committee on Power (PACP) to commence implementation of the alternative metering scheme aimed at ensuring rapid deployment of pre-payment electricity meters nationwide.
The approval followed a presentation made by the Chairman of NERC, Dr. Sam Amadi, to the committee in Abuja, recently.
Giving their consent to the recommendations of the NERC chairman, the PACP directed the immediate implementation of the alternative metering scheme otherwise known as Credit Advance Payment for Meter Installation (CAPMI).
The scheme which is expected to give meter deployment a major boost was designed as an alternative for customers who are willing to advance money to their distribution companies for speedy installation of prepayment meters.
“One of the top priorities of the Commission is ensuring that the huge number of unmetered customers is reduced as rapidly as possible, and within the shortest possible time. By doing so, the menace of ‘crazy billing’ and other commercial losses will be greatly curtailed,” Amadi said.
In June 2012, the Commission had announced that customers were no longer required to pay for electricity meters because the new tariff which was rolled out? then had incorporated the cost of the meter in the fixed charge component of the bill.
Unfortunately, the strategy has failed to work in line with the expectations of the Commission as nine months after the announcement, an unacceptable number of Nigerians still remain without meters; groaning under the weight of estimated billing.
However, the development, the Commission maintained has prompted it to act quickly by coming up with customer – centered alternatives.
Amadi explained that CAPMI was an optional scheme that has been designed to allow willing customers advance money to their distribution companies in exchange for the installation of meters.
“Once meters have been installed under this new scheme, customers are then refunded for the cost of the meter by way of monthly reductions on the fixed charge element of their electricity bills over time,” the NERC chairman said.
He added that NERC has developed processes that will ensure that the advance payments would? be secure, and made in a transparent manner to dedicated bank accounts.