The Meter Asset Provider Regulation
Author: Osasu Eghobamien
The MAP regulation stipulates that NERC shall licence pre-qualified Meter Asset Providers (MAP) who will finance, install, maintain and where necessary, replace end-user electricity meters. This regulation is aimed at the elimination of estimated billing and its related issues, and is expected to address the financial and operational challenges faced by electricity distribution companies (DisCos) in supplying meters to customers. The Regulation is expected to close the metering gap in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry within three (3) years of coming into effect. A noteworthy difference between the CAPMI regime and the new MAP regulation is in supply and installation. During the CAPMI order regime, supply and installation of meters were performed by the DisCos while in MAP, the meter asset providers are to take charge of procurement, supply, installation and even maintenance.
The Meter Asset Provider
The Meter Asset Provider is a third party who carries out services related to financing, procurement, installation, maintenance as well as replacement of meters. Their functions relieve the financial and operational burden of metering from distribution licensees, while keeping in accordance to the requirements of the distribution license. One of the key requirements DisCos have to meet in the fulfilment of its distribution license is the procurement and deployment of meters to customers in its service areas. Therefore, NERC developed the MAP regulation that allows qualified metering bodies to be competitively procured by Distribution licensees. This means that although DisCos are still solely responsible for the deployment of meters, they assume a supervisory role in the deployment of meters, rather than bearing the brunt of financing, procurement, installation and maintenance services.
Charting the MAP Course: The Process
The first stage for a prospective third-party MAP is the Expression of Interest. In this stage, interested parties submit requests to NERC to take part in the bidding process. NERC then carries out due diligence according to its criteria, based on its technical and financial capacities as a company. Afterwards, NERC issues successful applicants a certificate of no objection. The certificate shows that NERC is aware of the applicant’s intent to bid and has no objections. Going further, the DisCos undertake a procurement process and an offer letter is given to the successful bidder(s). The successful bidder then makes an application to NERC for the grant of a permit. NERC grants the successful bidder a Meter Asset Power License after the bidder has proven to meet the statutory, technical, technology and local content requirements of the regulation. The new MAP is now cleared to execute further agreement with the DisCo.