Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has ordered electricity distribution companies (DisCos) to reimburse customers who have paid for the acquisition of meters under the Meter Assets Provider (MAP) initiative.
The commission gave the order (NERC/2023/001) in a document dated March 20, 2023, signed by NERC Chairman, Sanusi Garba, and Commissioner (Legal, Licensing & Compliance), Dafe Akpeneye.
According to the document, released September 18, 2023, the order took effect April 1, 2023, offering guidelines on the reimbursement.
Section 8 (f) of the regulations provides that distribution licensees are obligated to reimburse customers who pay for meters under the MAP framework through equal installments of energy credits at the time of vending, with the cost of the meter amortized over a maximum period of 36 months.
Section 24 (1) (b) of the regulations provides that where a customer elects to make upfront payments for meters under these regulations, the cost of the meter shall be refunded through energy credits by the distribution licensee. The reimbursement schedule shall be as approved by the commission, having regard to an evaluation of the financial standing of the distribution licensee. This provision also applies to upfront payments made by customers upon commencement of the MAP framework in 2018.
The commission noted that meters have an average useful life of 10 years and the adoption of a 10-year repayment cycle for reimbursements aligns with the current term sheet adopted by the Central Bank of Nigeria and other financial institutions for meter acquisition loans.
It added that the cost of a prepaid meter paid by a customer under MAP shall be amortized over 120 equal installments and reimbursed through energy credits computed based on the prevailing tariff at the time of vending.
“Where a customer does not vend in a given month or months, the DisCo shall, at the point of the next vending, refund the accumulated energy credits due to the customer for the period not vended.
“Where a post-paid customer purchases a meter under the MAP framework, the reimbursement by the DisCo shall be in the form of a rebate on the customers’ monthly invoice to reflect the fixed monthly reimbursement computed on the cost of the meter spread over a period of 120 months.”