CEM REPORT, POWER | Electricity consumers can purchase transformers, meters, poles, or any other assets for Electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos).
According to the National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) purchase of such assets for DisCos can alone be done after the fulfilment of certain outlined conditions.
Speaking at the 3-day NERC/Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) Customer Complaint Resolution Meeting, NERC’s Commissioner of Consumer Affairs, Aisha Mahmud, clarified that it was not the responsibility of electricity consumers to buy transformers or any other assets for DisCos.
However, she added that in any situation where electricity consumers cannot wait for the DisCo to provide needed assets such consumers can provide for themselves after signing an agreement with the DisCos stating when and how they will be refunded the cost of the transformer or the purchased asset.
Mahmud added that the agreement should contain a dispute resolution clause and all other items that are expected of a standard agreement.
“It is not the responsibility of the consumers to buy meters, poles, or any assets for the DisCos because we have already provided for that in the tariff of the utilities.
“But under any circumstances that you have to purchase this item and you cannot wait for the DisCos to make that investment, we have made provision for that under our “Investment Regulation.’’
The commissioner also explained that it was part of NERC’s responsibility to educate customers on their rights and obligation regarding the electricity market especially on the issue of meters, bypassing or tempering with meters.
She noted, with dismay, that the commission realised that most consumers do not know about the existence of the regulator.
“They don’t know their right, they have a lot of rights that they are not aware of. It was our duty to tell them that it is their right to get a meter as Discos are not doing you any favour to issue you a meter.’’
“They should know that the Discos are just merely collection agents and the revenue they collect is not entirely their own as they have to pay gas suppliers.
“Pay the Transmission Company (TCN) and the generation companies so customers should know that once they touch the utilities they are also sub-charging themselves.’’
Recall that the NERC has always maintained that electricity consumers are not required to pay directly for meters issued to them under the National Mass Metering Programme (NMMP).
The regulator also noted that consumers may elect to acquire a meter from the Meter Asset Programme (MAP) under the regulatory framework approved by the commission under MAP/NMMP Regulation
Pointing out that the regulation provides for a refund of the cost of the meter through energy credits to the customer at the time of supply of electricity.