NERC Blames Import Tax For Failure To Deliver On Mass Metering Plans

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NERC Blames Import Tax For Failure To Deliver On Mass Metering Plans

The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has blamed the sudden introduction of an additional 35 percent import tax by the Federal Government for its inability to make prepaid meters available for electricity consumers.

The NERC in its latest operational report said its plan to use an improved supply framework to reduce the number of unmetered electricity users in the country’s power sector was largely impeded by the government’s import levy.

The commission explained that its Meter Assets Providers (MAP) framework which sought to improve meter deployment, reduce estimated billing and expand revenue collection capacities of the 11 electricity distributions companies (Discos) suffered a deployment setback with the government’s new import levy.

It, however, decried that 59.61 per cent of registered electricity customers in the country are still on estimated billing, adding that this contributes to customer apathy towards payment of electricity bills.

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The report said although the effective meter roll-out date started in May 2019, “the performance has been below targets due to a sudden introduction of a 35 per cent additional importation levy imposed by the federal government on fully assembled meters.”

It also noted that it, “is currently working with the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning to address this major challenge,” adding that while it is important to encourage local content in the metering sector, “a case has been made by the commission for a deferral of the new import levy to allow for the roll out of meters under the framework of the MAP Regulation.”

“In addition, the commission has continued to review the performance of MAPs with a view to addressing all other challenges affecting meter deployments by Discos under MAP initiative,” the NERC said.

The NERC also reiterated its intention to see that all Discos close their existing metering gaps in the sector by the end of December 2021 and has continued to take measures in this regard.

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