NERC Orders DISCOs to Close CAPMI Scheme November 1

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Anthony Akah

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The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission directs electricity distribution companies to stop the Credited Advance Payment for Metering Implementation, CAPMI, scheme November 1 due to under-performance

By Anayo Ezugwu  |  Oct 10, 2016 @ 01:00 GMT  |

THE Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, has ordered the electricity distribution companies, Discos, in the country to officially wind-down the alternative meter financing scheme it initiated in 2013 by November 1. The commission said the Credited Advance Payment for Metering Implementation, CAPMI, which allows electricity consumers to self-finance their meter acquisition and installation, had to be scrapped because the discos were unable to promptly deploy meters to them.

The NERC stated, in a recent letter to the Discos, that between November 2013 and June 2016, only about 500,000 meters were deployed by the 11 Discos within their networks with less than 35 percent of that directly done by them.

Anthony Akah, acting chairman, NERC, said the directive to the Discos to close-down the CAPMI scheme was based on the pronouncement of Babatunde Fashola, minister of power, works and housing, that the discos have done badly with meter deployment even after collecting monies from consumers.

“It should be recalled that the CAPMI initiative, which was instituted in 2013, was designed to assist the discos in providing alternative financing options for reducing the very dire metering gap that was estimated to be above 50 per cent (courtesy of report submitted by the metering committee headed by the late Bamidele Aturu in 2012.) The commission then invited stakeholders including all the discos, meter service providers, local meter manufacturers and other importers of metering instruments to assist in articulating a scheme that would assist in reducing the suffering of customers from estimated billing.

“The Credited Advance Payment for Metering Implementation was then articulated to incorporate a framework for easy procurement by discos based on a bid document that reduced the time lag and focused mainly on ability to supply and install the meters within 45 days from when a customer paid the stipulated fee,” he said.

Akah said while the scheme will be formally closed, the commission expects that discos will meter all the customers who have so far paid for meters under the CAPMI scheme. They should also not collect any form of payments for meters between now and when the programme will end.

He further elaborated that, “A number of audits carried out by the commission revealed that most electricity customers were not being metered even after making payments beyond the agreed 45 days. “Some discos were merely selling meters to their customers in the disguise of implementing the CAPMI. Some Discos were reprimanded for their non-compliance to the CAPMI order, yet there was minimal improvement in meter deployment.

“Given the fact that metering is the exclusive responsibility of discos, the commission issued a number of directives and instituted various compliance and enforcement groups to persuade discos to improve the meter roll out from both their performance agreement and CAPMI. Some discos neglected their primary obligation to provide electricity meters to their customers at no extra cost to them since it is part of the tariff being paid, but relied only on CAPMI.

“All these efforts proved ineffective in improving meter deployment. Between November 2013 and June 2016 only about 500,000 meters were deployed by the 11 discos directly, adding less than 35 per cent into the network. This is far below expected metering target. This led to the pronouncement by the minister of power that given the suboptimal performance of discos in deploying meters even after collecting funds from customers, that the CAPMI scheme should be reviewed and eventually wound down.

“It is in this regards therefore that the commission issued the directive that the CAPMI programme should wind down in an orderly manner and cease to exist as from the 1st of November, 2016.”

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