Estimated billing: FG deploys N37bn for meters supply

Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola

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Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola

By Kazeem Ugbodaga

The Federal Government on Monday said it is taking advantage of the Meter Asset Provider (MAP) regulations to deploy a fund of N37 billion towards supplying meters through private sector.

Minister of Power, Works, and Housing, Babatunde Fashola disclosed this on Monday at the monthly Power Sector Operators meeting hosted by Kaduna Distribution Company, in Kaduna State.

According to Fashola, apart from service issues of supply, there was the bigger and compelling issue of estimated billing and lack of meters.

“Meter supply has become the big issue of the moment that consumers want us to resolve. As a Government, we hear them loudly and clearly, and as service providers, we hope that you can hear them too. As power supply continues to increase in Generation, Transmission and Distribution, the demand for meters will increase because more power supply and consumption will likely result in increased bills.

“Estimated billings in these circumstance will become a major cause of distrust and conflict between consumers and DisCos, and meters are the easiest way to build the bridge of trust. On the Executive side of Government, we are responding by taking advantage of the Meter Asset Provider (MAP) Regulations to deploy a fund of N37bn towards supplying meters through private sector,” he said.

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The minister urged all DisCos who had not taken benefit of this opportunity to quickly do so, or make their own funding arrangements to contract their own meter providers to supply and install meters.

Fashola added that the nation was beginning to witness a different weather season that would see more rainfall, thunderstorms, lightening and windstorms., saying that all of these would affect regular supply one way or another, as trees would fall and disrupt lines, poles and lines might be damaged, and service disrupted.

“In all these situations, we must prepare our staff to anticipate, plan, and respond. Most importantly, we must inform the public about the problems and what we are doing to restore service whenever there are disruptions. As a consumer myself, nothing gives me more comfort than when my service provider shares information about service disruptions. It tells me quickly that at least somebody knows that there is a problem, and gives me hope that something is being done about it,” he said.

On the Legislative side of government, he said there was a clear intention to intervene by legislation, stressing that the executive and legislative response showed that government was committed to addressing this issue of meters.

“Let me be clear that every DisCo is affected, and every DisCo needs to respond by providing meters quickly and seeking to end estimated billing, which is subjective, discretionary, and prone to abuse,” he said.