Contrary to expectations that electricity consumers would immediately begin to enjoy access to free electricity metres with the commencement of the new tariff plan, Chairman of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Dr. Sam Amadi, has said that the free metres may take months to come.
LEADERSHIP had exclusively reported that metres were still being sold to consumers contrary to government’s promise that upon commencement of the new Multi-Year Tariff Order 2 (MYTO 2), pre-paid metres would be issued to electricity consumers for free as the cost has been factored into the new tariff, in line with government’s desire to metre the industry within the next 18 months.
When contacted to comment on the matter, Amadi told LEADERSHIP that the process which would lead to the distribution of free metres was still being worked out, saying that consumers should exercise patience.
“The distribution companies are going to give us a plan and it will follow a process, there will be the issue of timing and delivery.
It is not that people will expect the free metres on the first day the new tariff is rolled out, PHCN may not start giving out the free metres in the first two or three months,” he said.
While urging consumers to be patient as they would eventually get the free metres, Amadi said, “they shouldn’t be in a rush as that would create a situation of artificial scarcity in the market. They should give us time to sort out the methodology to allow them access to free metres.”
On what measures the regulatory commission would adopt in the event that PHCN defied its free metre directive, Amadi said, “It is only a matter of enforcement to make metres given freely to consumers, it will eventually be given free, people should just be patient.”
He however, clarified that people who are already connected would get free metres, while new houses would have to pay connection fee though the metres would be given free.
Recall that NERC had announced the abolition of metre payments, saying consumers, under the new electricity tariff, would no longer pay for metres as the cost has been built into the new tariff.