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Meters: Electricity Consumers to Pay through Service Charge

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Electricity
  • Meters: Electricity Consumers to Pay through Service Charge

Contrary to the position of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) that electricity consumers in the country would be provided meters free-of-charge by their distribution companies (Discos), power consumers would actually have to pay for such through a new window termed ‘metering service charge,’ Investors King yesterday learnt.

Checks revealed that Discos’ customers can either choose to pay upfront for meters to be installed at their premises by Disco-accredited MAPs, or accept an installation by the Discos with an agreement to pay for it through their electricity bills.

NERC recently stated that the responsibility of providing meters to consumers was still that of Discos. It also disclosed that under the MAPs scheme, consumers who choose to self-finance their meter acquisition would pay the MAPs N36,991.50 for single phase meters and N67, 055.85 for three phase meters respectively.

It has so far approved the MAPs accredited by Abuja; Ibadan; Ikeja and Jos Discos to commence operations.
However, it is not clear if the new meter service charges in the MAPs scheme are different from the fixed charge the NERC in 2015 abolished and striped Discos from collecting from consumers.

Efforts to reach the General Manager, Public Affairs, Dr. Usman Arabi, and Head of Media, Mr. Sam Ekeh, of the NERC for clarification on the content of the regulation proved abortive as none of them responded to calls and text messages as at the time of filing this report.

NERC had also stated that the main objective of the MAPs would be to encourage the development of independent and competitive meter services in the power market, eliminate estimated billing, attract private investment in metering services, close the huge metering gap, and then improve the revenue generation profile of the sector.
According to it, the Discos’ metering gap as at December 2017 was 4,740,275, which it said could significantly increase upon the conclusion of a customer enumeration exercise.

Based on MAPs regulation, all Discos are expected to engage the services of MAPs towards meeting their metering targets.

It added that 30 per cent of the contracted meters to be installed by the MAPs would be locally sourced.
Also, consumers who do not have meters yet shall provide access for the provision of meters for their premises by MAPs, failure for which would result in a denial of electricity service by the Discos.

The document further said: “The distribution licensees shall include a metering service charge as a clear item on the billing of its customers provided with meters under an MSA (meter service agreement) with MAPs and shall be separate from the energy charge. The metering service charge shall be based on the outcome of the procurement process for the MAP and subject to the approval of the commission.”

It said that when this is the case, the Discos shall have rights to use data derived from customer meters for monitoring, billing planning and any other related activities, as well as to query data from the meters for audit purposes.

Further, the regulation explained that: “The metering service charge paid by all customers shall be ring-fenced in a dedicated account for the purpose of timely payment to MAPs,” adding that the MAPs shall retain the right to be paid in full the aggregated metering service charge paid by customers during the billing cycle.

Dwelling on obligations of parties under the scheme, the regulation stated that: “Upon the installation of a meter by a MAP, the customer has no obligation to pay for metering service charge through the distribution licensee at the time of payment for energy unless financed upfront in full by the customer.

“The payment for metering service charge by the customer to the MAP shall cease upon full amortisation of the meter asset over its technical life assumed in the procurement process for the MAP.”

According to it, where a customer fails to pay for metering service charge in any given month or months, the cumulative metering service charge shall be deducted upon the subsequent payment.

Equally, where a customer elects to pay for a meter asset upfront under the regulation, such a customer shall not be liable for the payment of metering service charge through the Discos.

“The amount payable to the MAP by a customer electing to pay upfront shall be the efficient cost of the meter asset and its installation cost as determined by the procurement process for the MAP conducted by the distribution licensee,” it added.

As for the obligations of the MAPs and Discos in the arrangement, it stated that after initial installations of meters, the MAPs shall repair or replace them within two working days of being notified they are faulty.

“Where a MAP fails to repair or replace a meter within two working days of a report by the customer or distribution licensee, the customer shall not be liable for the payment of metering service charge for the billing period unless such delays were as a result of inaccessibility to the customer’s premises.

“In the event of a prolonged delay in repairing or replacing a defective meter asset, the distribution licensee and MAP shall agree on an appropriate compensation to the distribution licensee for loss of revenue.

“The MAP shall install the meter at the premises of the customer within 10 working days of the receipt of full payment by the customer. The authorisation by the distribution licensee to pay for the meter shall only be issued after certifying the readiness of the premises for a safe and secure installation of the meter asset,” according to the regulation.

The regulation also provides that the cost structure of metering service charge shall cover the cost of providing the meter asset and the ongoing costs of operating and maintaining them, and would be transparent in the billing processes.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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MTN Nigeria, Gameloft Partner to Increase Access to Variety of Exciting Games

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MTN Nigeria announced it has partnered with Gameloft, a leader in the development and publishing of games, to increase access to a variety of fun and exciting games online.

The telecommunications giant in collaboration with its new partner, Gameloft announced the launch of MTN Gameworld, a new gaming platform for its subscribers.

According to MTN, the new platform will allow the Nigerian growing gaming community access to a lot of unique games online through an extensive premium catalogue from Gameloft and other renowned publishers.

Commenting on the partnership, Srinivas Rao, the Chief Digital Officer, MTN Nigeria, said, “We are constantly seeking to deliver innovative products that support the aspirations of our customers, whilst delivering superior user experience. This partnership allows us to provide our customers with access to a variety of exhilarating games from Gameloft and other leading publishers at an affordable rate.”

MTN Gameworld will allow subscribed customers access to a variety of games, which they can play at subsidised data rates through the MTN Gameworld app. Android, iOS and Windows phone users can subscribe via SMS, app, web, USSD menu (*447#), 131 USSD menu and any other MTN customer channel.

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President Buhari Commissions 5,000bpd Modular Refinery Built in Imo State

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President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday commissioned the 5,000 barrels per day modular refinery built by Waltersmith Group in Imo State.

President Buhari, who commissioned the new modular refinery virtually, said the refinery will enable Nigeria to export petroleum products to neighbouring countries and other markets.

The 5,000 barrels per day Waltersmith Modular Refinery is the first phase of 50,000 barrels per day combined capacity plant planned for Imo State, according to the Group.

Buhari commended Waltersmith Group, an indigenous oil firm, and the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board for the collaboration that led to the actualisation of the modular refinery.

President Buhari, therefore, directed the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, the Department of Petroleum Resources and all other relevant government agencies to provide Waltersmith all the necessary support in terms of access to crude oil and condensate feedstock.

Buhari said, “We rolled out our refining roadmap in 2018, to address challenges in the downstream sector. After many years of government giving out modular refining licences without any coming on-stream, we are today seeing a commissioning within two years.

“The plan to commence the expansion of this refinery to 50,000bpd capacity, to refine crude oil and condensate, is a demonstration of the economic reform Nigeria is undergoing.

“The realisation of the refinery roadmap will ultimately lead us to becoming a net exporter of petroleum products, not only to our neighbouring countries but to other wide markets,” he said.

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Elon Musk Net Worth Jumps by $100 Billion this Year to Topple Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Others 

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Elon Musk, the Chief Executive Officer and founder of Tesla, is now the world’s second-richest person following another surge in the price of Tesla share.

Musk total net worth jumped by $7.6 billion to $110 billion between November 16 and 17 to dethrone Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, from the third position.

Since then, Tesla stock has been on a bullish run and in the last 24 hours added $7.24 billion to Elon Musk’s total net worth, according to Bloomberg Billionaire Index. Bringing the billionaire’s total net worth to $128 billion.

Elon Musk’s net worth rose from just $28 billion in January 2020 to $128 billion on November 24, 2020, representing an increase of $100 billion, the highest by any billionaire.

Musk has finally toppled Bill Gates as the second richest person and for the first time, Bill Gates is the third richest man in the world. This is the first time in almost 40 years that Gates will be in the third position.

Billionaires listed on Bloomberg Index have collectively gained $1.3 trillion this year.

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