The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has said the delay in the release of the new connection fees for the various categories of electric prepaid meters was to ensure that the appropriate financial components were worked out.
It was learnt that the non-release of the connection fees had stalled the processing of applications for new meters by the 11 distribution companies unbundled from the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN).
Chairman of NERC, Dr. Sam Amadi, told THISDAY at the weekend that the "new meter procurement processes have not been finalised," adding that the "financial components are still being worked out."
He noted that the deployment of the new prepaid meters was a process that would take a very long time.
Amadi stated that even if the new fees were released, customers, who pay would not be issued with meters immediately as the process of getting the meters after payment would still take time.
"It is a deployment process and even when a customer pays, he will not be given meter immediately," he said.
He assured that the distribution companies would continue the normal issuance of meters to customers that paid before June 1.
Following the new tariff regime, which provides that customers would only pay for meter-connection fees, the 11 distribution companies had stopped collection of applications for new meters, pending the release of the connection fees.
Before the recent increase in electricity tariff, the official cost of a single phase meter was N25, 000, while three phase meter was sold for N55, 000.
However, the new electricity tariff regime, which took effect from June 1, 2012 provides that all the categories of meters would be obtained free of charge by customers as the real cost of the meters had been factored into the new tariff.
But NERC said customers would pay connection fees, which would be less than the market cost of the meters.