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Meters: NERC outlines payment refund plans

●REA plans mini-grids for isolation centres, PHCs

All customers, who made payment for meters under the Meter Asset Provider (MAP) scheme, would be refunded. The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), which declared this in an email statement, through its Head Public Affairs, Mr. Michael Faloseyi, added that the “modality for the refund of the meter cost funded by the customers either through upfront payment or amortised payments is being worked out.”

This clarification is coming on the heels of enquiries by some electricity consumers, who wanted to know if the money they had paid for meters under the MAP scheme, would be refunded, bearing in mind the recent government’s pronouncement that 6 million meters would be distributed at no cost to customers under the National Mass Metering Programme (NMMP) The regulator said that all power distribution companies (Discos) had keyed into the NMMP initiative, adding that “meter deployments are commencing in earnest across all Discos under the first phase of the NMMP.”

The commission said the first rollout of meters had already started based on meters that were already available at the warehouses of the Discos and meter asset providers. On consumers bearing the cost of meters later, NERC said: “Given that all prudent costs are borne by customers, the full cost of metering would form part of the tariff once the industry assumes full cost recovery. “All customers who made payment for meters under the MAP scheme would be refunded. The modality for the refund of the meter’s cost funded by the customers either through upfront payment or amortized payments is being worked out.”

It will be recalled that in a bid to close the huge metering gap in the power sector, NERC approved MAP in March 2018, a regulation that provides for the supply, financing, installation and maintenance of end-user meters by other parties approved by the commission.

The scheme introduces third-party meter asset providers as a new set of service providers in Nigeria Electricity Supply Industry. Under the MAP scheme, which took off on May 1, 2019, electricity consumers have two options for acquiring a meter: upfront payment or instalment payments through metering service charge on a monthly basis. But the scheme has suffered setbacks, including changes in fiscal policy and the limited availability of long-term funding, according to the regulator.

This came as the Federal Government said that it was set to power over 100 COVID-19 isolation centres and 400 Primary Health Centres (PHCs) nationwide through the Rural Electrification Agency (REA). A statement from the REA in Abuja, stated that as part of the COVID-19 intervention scheme, solar hybrid mini-grids were deployed a few months ago in the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital isolation centre, which got 53.1kWp and at the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) public health lab, Lagos which received 25kw. It noted that 20kw plant was established at the 128-bed isolation centre in Ikenne, Ogun State and a 10kw facility built at the 100-bed Iberekodo isolation centre, also in Ogun State.

“These interventions will be scaled up to 100 isolation centres and 400 primary health centres, to be deployed in phases,” the agency stated. It explained that during the year, some mini-grid grid projects were completed in Eka Awoke, Ebonyi State, with 100kw, 30kw solar hybrid mini-grid in Bambami village, Batagarawa council, Katsina State and 100kw solar hybrid mini-grid at Olooji community, Ijebu-East, Ogun State.

In addition, the REA listed the 100kw solar hybrid mini-grid at Budo-Are community, Oyo State, 40kw solar hybrid mini-grid at Goton-Sarki community, Paikoro LGA, Niger state, 85kwp solar mini-grid at Dekiti community, Akko LGA, Gombe and 100kW solar hybrid mini-grid in Adebayo community, Ovia South LGA, Edo State as having been completed. “Over 15, 000 community members across these communities are benefiting from these installations.

These interventions have also improved the socio-economic status of these communities through productive use of electricity. “6,805 solar home systems have been deployed across six states (Plateau, Benue, Kogi, Kaduna, Akwa Ibom, Katsina) and more is designed to deliver mini-grids to 12 communities and 19, 000 SHS in total,” the agency said. On grid extension projects, the REA added that Unguwar Dutse community, Malumfashi, Katsina State got a 33/0.415kv transformer serving about 4,000 residents of the community, while Ajijola-Anabi community, Osun State received a 300kva, 11/0.415kv transformer.

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