Prepayment Electricity Meters

Nigerian Senate decries poor deployment of meters to electricity consumers despite N33bn investments

*The Nigerian Senate Committee on Power in the National Assembly expresses concerns over the comparatively poor distribution of power prepayment meters to electricity consumers in the country

Alexander Davis | ConsumerConnect

Concerned about the continued estimated billing regime and arbitrary distribution of prepayment meters to electricity consumers, the Nigerian Senate has lamented that despite the release of N33billion to indigenous manufacturing firms producing meters, the Distribution Companies’ (DisCos) sharing of the measuring device homes and  businesses across the country is still ‘very poor’.

Sen. Gabriel Suswan, Chairman, Committee on Power in the National Assembly (NASS), expressing concerns over the issue on behalf of the Senate, Tuesday, May 25 in Abuja, FCT, wondered why the distribution of the meter was meager despite the fact that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had released N33billion of the N59billion earmarked for the electricity metering project in the country, The Guardian report noted.

The Senator stated this during his Committee’s visit to the Nigerian Electricity Management Services Agency (NEMSA).

Suswan said: “There is a presidential initiative that saddled the Central Bank of Nigeria with the responsibility of providing money to those who are ready to start meter manufacturing in the country.

“There is seed money at the CBN which they can take at single digit for them to be able to start manufacturing meters so that the complaint about lack of meters and estimated billings by customers will be a thing of the past.”

He disclosed that “many potential manufacturers of meters are already taking advantage of the initiative. There will be a lot of meter manufacturers in Nigeria within the next two years.”

According to the Federal lawmaker, Nigeria could not wait for all the certified local manufacturers to start producing meters for distribution; hence the DISCOs have been permitted to import the products.

NEMSA has a lot of responsibilities to carry out in the power sector but it is not being properly funded, he lamented.

He further stated that “they have the know-how to test all the electricity equipment coming into the country. The Act that sets up NEMSA empowers it to apply sanctions but it is not adequate.

“What we are doing as a parliament is that we have initiated an Electricity Act for the country to take care of most of the infractions that go unpunished most of the time.”

Peter Ewesor, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of NEMSA, in his remarks during the Senate Committee’s visit, commended the Federal Government’s policy, which is aimed at producing about six million meters by 2022.

The NEMSA Chief said: “All those who have been bringing in meters from outside the country now have to establish factories in Nigeria.

“We have actually certified well over 15 companies in the last nine months because they know that if they are not producing meters in Nigeria, they will not have access to the facilities that the government is providing through the CBN.

“NEMSA already has various meter testing centres across the geopolitical zones in the country and we have been effective in discharging our responsibilities despite paucity of funds and inadequate personnel.”

NEMSA is a Federal Government agency saddled with the responsibility of enforcing technical standards and regulations in the power sector through inspection, testing and certification of electrical equipment and products.

The Federal Government, in October 2020, launched the National Mass Metering Programme to increase the country’s metering rate and eliminate arbitrary estimated billing.

The CBN is expected to provide financing support to the electricity DisCos and local manufacturers to produce meters for Nigerian electricity consumers.

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