Electricity consumers under the aegis of Nigeria Electricity Consumer Advocacy Network have kicked against the surge in prices of single-phase and three-phase pre-paid electricity meters.
They said it is unacceptable, especially at a time when consumers are faced with a lot of hardship and the high cost of almost every product in the energy value chain.
Their reaction follows an announcement by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) on Wednesday, increasing the prices of prepaid meters.
Naija News had on Wednesday reported that the electricity regulator made an upward review of meter prices in the country.
The development was revealed in a circular signed and dated 5 September 2023 by the commission’s Chairman and Commissioner of Legal, licensing, and compliance, Sanusi Garba and Dafe Akpeneye, respectively.
The circular stated that a single-phase pre-paid meter would now cost N81,975.16k from N58,661.69k, while three-phase pre-paid meters is increased to N143,836.10k from N109,684.36k.
It said the new price was to ensure fair and reasonable pricing of meters to both MAPs and end-user customers.
NERC said the surge was to “Ensure MAP’s ability to recover reasonable costs associated with meter procurement and maintenance while ensuring that their pricing structure allows for a viable return on investment. Evaluate the affordability of meter services for consumers, aiming to prevent excessive pricing that could burden end-users. Ensure that MAPs are able to provide meters to end-use customers in the prevailing economic realities.
“The Meter Asset Provider scheme is one of the four frameworks in the regulations for the provision of meters to end-use customers in NESI.
“Section 8(1)(c) of the regulations provides that the costs of single-phase and three-phase meters issued by MAPs, inclusive of all other associated costs of installation and warranties shall be at the regulated rates approved by the commission.
“The commission notes that significant changes in macroeconomic indicators, such as inflation and changes in the foreign exchange rates, have necessitated a review of the regulated rates for MAP meters.
“All MAPs shall adjust their prices to reflect the approved rates. All MAPs shall supply meters previously paid for by end-use customers prior to the commencement of this order at the prevailing rate when payment was made by the customers without additional increase in cost.
“All Discos and MAPs are to develop/implement customer enlightenment campaigns on the price review along with a schedule on the implementation of their meter rollout plans. All MAPs shall continue to file monthly sales and meter installation returns with the commission.”
However, in their reaction, the power consumers said they were aware that the MAPs pushed for the increase, and they had earlier cautioned against such actions.
Speaking to The Punch, the National Secretary of Nigeria Electricity Consumer Advocacy Network, Uket Obonga, described the situation as not good enough because consumers were now grappling with the excessive rise in the costs of different products in the energy sectors, including the increase in fuel price, diesel price, meter price, etc.
He noted that they knew the MAPs had pressured the federal government because they had threatened to pull out of the deal.
While calling on the government to consider the plight of Nigerians and reverse the increase, Obonga stated, “They (government) have talking about this since the unification of the foreign exchange rates, but we warned against it due to the plights being faced by Nigerians currently.”