Abuja, Nigeria --- (METERING.COM) --- May 16, 2013 - The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has issued an order mandating the country’s 11 electricity distributors to implement the new “credit advance payment for meter installation” (CAPMI) scheme from May 14.

The scheme will continue until such time as the distribution core investors take over the distributors and begin to fully implement their metering plans, which is expected by quarter 3 2013.

Under the CAPMI scheme, customers may advance money to their distribution companies to install meters. The meter costs (but not installation costs) are then refunded, with a nominal 12 percent interest, by way of monthly reductions on the fixed charge element of their electricity bills over a maximum of three years.

According to the order, customers who pay for meters under the CAPMI scheme must be supplied with their meters within 45 days from the date of payment.

The distributors may only procure meter supply and installation services from service providers certified by the Commission. Local manufacturers of meters are being given priority over importers, and all will be subject to the guidelines and standards set by the Commission.

In a separate order the distributors were ordered to supply customers who have paid for meters from January 1, 2011 with their meters within 45 days. Failure to comply with the order will be considered a gross violation of the licence terms and conditions and the chief executive officer of the concerned company will be personally sanctioned.

The NERC is intent on ensuring that the huge number of unmetered customers is reduced as rapidly as possible, to curtail the menace of “crazy billing” and other commercial losses, according to a statement.

The NERC also intends that all urban areas within Nigeria, and other areas where feasible, will have smart metering with prepaid functionality and upgradeable software.