Gaps in the Regulation? Possible Considerations for Revision
Author: Osasu Eghobamien
Meter Ownership after Technical Life Elapses
While the regulation is explicit about meter ownership throughout the technical life of the asset, it does not provide clarity on ownership of the meter after its technical life has elapsed and the MAP has recouped its cost with interest. Although it seems logical for ownership to remain with the MAP, it needs to be clearly stated in the regulation, alongside the associated implications if any. Clearly stating such will clarify any misgivings that “post amortization of the meter costs, meter ownership under the MAP regime will rest with the owner of the premises where they are installed as they cannot be moved by the customers who paid for them”.
Installed Meter Inspections
There needs to be clarity on who is authorised to inspect meters for bypasses. Though the responsibilities to provide meters lie on the DisCos, the actual provision has been contracted to third party agents who are also responsible for installation and maintenance. Does this mean that the third-party MAPs are also responsible for meter inspection?
So far, communications about the MAP Regulation to consumers does not seem to be a priority and this needs to be reconsidered. Communication to customers nationwide need to be carried out continuously to prepare the minds of customers, create awareness on the customers’ roles and increase their support for the regulation. Although the regulation in itself is laudable, it is important to realise that many customers are not usually welcoming, or outrightly refuse field operators from accessing their premises or meters. Using the right communications strategies, customers need to be informed of the penalty attached to refusal of access to premises when the metering rollout begins. There should also be widespread publicity of the impending tariff classes due to the regulation. Communication strategies such as social media, mass media, face to face announcements, community engagement and gatherings should be thoroughly applied to ensure awareness and buy-in of customers to the regulation, its processes and what it stands for.