The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has approved the upward review of the prices of the single-phase and three-phase meters by 30.6 and 32.4 per cents respectively.
This is coming amid the scarcity of meters which leaves millions of electricity consumers on estimated billings.
In a letter addressed to the managing directors of the distribution companies (DisCos) and all Meter Asset Providers (MAP) seen by LEADERSHIP Weekend yesterday, NERC said the price of a single phase meter has increased by N13,766 per unit from N44,896.17 to N58,661.69, while a three phase meter will now sell for N109,684.36, which is a N26,829 increase from the current N82,855.19.
The new costs take effect from Monday November 15, 2021, the commission said.
The federal government has explained however that the increase in price does not affect customers who are obtaining their meters under the National Mass Metering Programme (NMMP) as meters under this scheme are given out for free.
Special adviser to the president on Infrastructure, Mr Ahmad Zakari, said the change in price is mainly due to the exchange rate of the naira to the United States dollars, hence an adjustment in the foreign component of meters, adding that “it is quite positive that there are local components in meter pricing that do not change with the foreign exchange.”
The federal government had launched the NMMP to provide over six million free meters to Nigerians to bridge the metering gap in the country.
In the first phase called phase 0, over 900,000 meters were deployed.
The programme would ensure that consumers are billed appropriately for the electricity they consume through the installation of free meters in unmetered households and business premises. The NMMP is fully funded by the World Bank and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
For those getting their meters under the MAP, the costs listed above are exclusive of the 7.5 per cent Value Added Tax (VAT) which the DisCos will include at the point of sale.
Accordingly, at the current 7.5 per cent VAT, a single meter will now have N4,400 as VAT to sell at N63,061.69 while a three phase meter will have additional N8,227 for VAT to sell for N117,911.36.
The N18,166 and N35,227 plus VAT increases in the prices of the meters are coming ahead of the Phase 1 of the federal government’s NMMP and the MAP, another existing metering scheme.
NERC, in the letter signed by the chairman, Engr Sanusi Garba, said the commission arrived at the approved unit price by considering the rise in the foreign exchange (forex) and inflation rate since the last review in June 2020.
Justifying the increase, the power regulator said, “Pursuant to the provisions of the MAP and NMM Regulation, NERC noted the recent changes in macro-economic parameters and hereby approves an upward review of unit price of meters.
“The price review is subject to change upon the conclusion of the procurement process under phase 1 of the NMMP. This price review is effective from 15th November 2021.”
Electricity consumers faced multiple increases in the prices of meters in June 2020 when NERC hiked the price by about 14 per cent.
While the meter price increased due to the new 7.5 per cent VAT, it further increased in July following forex challenges.
According to the pricing template in April 2020, a single-phase meter sold for N39,991.50, while a three-phase meter went for N67,055.85.
However, with the pricing template of NERC in June 2020, the single-phase meter rose to N44,896.17 while the three-phase meter sold for N82,855.19.
Analysis showed that the single-phase meter rose by N449, which is 11 per cent, while the three-phase meter rose by N829 (18 per cent).
The 11 DisCos then included the 7.5 per cent VAT and as of today, a single-phase meter goes for N48,263, while three phase is N89,069.