Babatunde Fashola, minister of power, says supply of meters to electricity consumers in the country is not exclusive to distribution companies (DisCos).
He said as it is an “open but regulated” business.
Fashola said this on Monday at the 18th monthly power sector and stakeholders’ meeting in Kumboso, Kano state.
He was, however, quick to add that for anybody to be involved in metering, they need license from the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to undertake it.
He also said the government had in the past attempted to intervene in metering supply through CAPMII but whined it down “because of the distrust it has caused between consumers and DisCos and government was caught in the middle”.
“Some DisCos have come back to say that their customers still want to pay for meters and that they can reach agreement with them on how to pay for it. Government will not come in the way of such agreement, it is in consistent with the power reforms act, it does not violate the act,” he said.
“If the customers and DisCos reach agreements within themselves where the customers assume the responsibility of the DisCo so be it. However, government may monitor and regulate to ensure that DisCos do not use this as an excuse to abdicate their responsibilities to provide meters.
“While it is true that DisCos have the obligation to meter customers because they are the ones who charge for the electricity which must be measured, the law does not vest the monopoly of meter supply to the DisCos.
“Anybody who qualifies under the safety regulation by NEMSA and under the licenses issued by NERC can supply meters to customers under conditions approved by law. In other words, meter supply is an open but regulated business.
“You need the license from NERC to undertake it. You need to comply with testing and safety standards of NEMSA to produce, install or import the meters. But it is not a monopoly for Discos alone.
“Nothing in the electric sector power reform act stops any state from doing so (producing their own power). What they need is to get the right license from the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).”