NERC To Hike Price Of Prepaid Meter Amidst Economic Challenges

In response to the growing challenges faced by meter manufacturers due to escalating production costs, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) is contemplating another increase in the price of prepaid meters.

Sources familiar with the matter, who spoke to Naijakiosk disclosed that manufacturers are anticipating a rise in prices and have halted issuing invoices to Distribution Companies (Discos).

“The cost of prepaid meters is going to go up soon,” said an official from a Distribution Company. “Meter Asset Providers have stopped selling new meters as they await NERC to approve new prices.”

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The potential price hike is attributed to the foreign exchange crisis gripping the economy, which has led to increased production costs and inflationary pressures on manufacturers.

This move follows NERC’s recent accusation of 11 Distribution Companies (DisCos) for overcharging unmetered customers, resulting in a hefty fine of N10.5 billion.

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Moreover, applicants for new meters are facing delays as NERC is expected to announce revised pricing soon. Customers who have applied weeks or even months earlier are expressing frustration over the inability to acquire meters promptly. Some have already paid for their meters but are experiencing delays in installation.

“New meter applications are not being processed until the price changes are reflected,” explained the source from the Distribution Company. “So due to FX issues, the meter manufacturers have stopped sending invoices until the meter price is reviewed.”

With Nigeria’s manufacturing industry grappling with rising costs amid a 27-year high inflation rate and a depreciating Naira, the outlook remains challenging. The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has projected that average capacity utilization will hover around 50%, limiting manufacturing performance until mid-2024.

The last increase in prepaid meter prices occurred in September 2023, reflecting the ongoing economic challenges. Given the worsening inflation and currency devaluation since then, consumers might soon see single-phase meters priced over N100,000 and three-phase meters nearing N150,000.

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As the nation’s meter deficit exceeds 7 million, the potential price hike exacerbates the struggle for affordable electricity access, highlighting the urgency for sustainable solutions amidst Nigeria’s economic woes.

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