The Electricity Consumer Protection Forum, an advocacy group, has expressed deep concern over the recent 40% increase in the price of single-phase prepaid meters in Nigeria saying the increase is of the average consumer
The group, represented by its National Coordinator, Adeola Samuel-Ilori, voiced these concerns in a statement released on Friday, citing the need for a more liberalized approach to prepaid meters.
According to Mr. Samuel-Ilori, “This is on the high side for an average consumer that is affected by dwindling purchase power which is caused by the same reason adduced to get prepaid meters being increased by NERC,”
To illustrate the extent of the price increase, Mr. Samuel-Ilori shared specific figures.
The cost of a single-phase prepaid meter has risen from N58,661.69k to N81,975.16k, while a three-phase prepaid meter now costs N143,836.10k, up from N109,684.36k.
Problems with purchasing pre-paid meters
The National Coordinator expressed dismay over NERC’s silence on the plight of customers and the perceived failure of the Meter Asset Providers (MAP 2019) program. The MAP 2019 August initiative was intended to allow consumers to purchase meters from approved MAP providers with ease, but it has fallen short of its promises.
Mr. Samuel-Ilori noted that despite numerous complaints from customers, NERC has not taken decisive action to address the situation, leaving consumers feeling frustrated and unsupported.
He emphasized that the practice of customers paying for meters and not receiving them for months is unacceptable. Mr. Samuel-Ilori called on NERC to mandate Discos to install meters within 10 days of payment, in accordance with the provisions of Section 34 of the Electricity Act, 2023.
The Electricity Consumer Protection Forum demanded stringent reprimands for any failure to meet this requirement, with compensation to be provided to affected customers facing delays.
Discos should comply with the Electricity Act 2023 on meters
Additionally, the group urged NERC to enforce Discos’ obligations to meter customers within their franchise areas promptly, in accordance with Section 114(2) of the Electricity Act, 2023.
Mr. Samuel-Ilori called on NERC to ensure that the new order to Discos includes refunding customers who have purchased meters in the past. He suggested that these consumers’ names should be publicly disclosed and prioritized so that others can make informed decisions before purchasing meters at the newly approved prices.