Why NERC directive on Meter Rollout may not Work


Kola Balogun, chairman, Momas Electricity Meter Manufacturing Company Limited, explains why deadline given by the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission for meter rollout will fail

By Anayo Ezugwu

DESPITE the directive from the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, that meter rollout should begin May 1, one of the meter manufacturers thinks the order is not realistic. Kola Balogun, chairman, Momas Electricity Meter Manufacturing Company Limited, said the directive is unachievable, considering other challenges that required attention.

Balogun, one of the Meter Asset Providers, MAPs, which applied for permits from NERC, said in an interview that the directive cannot work because  firstly, consumers need to be educated about what is expected of them to have access to MAP licensee. “Secondly, consumers have to be informed on the methods of acquiring meters, whether by payment or by investment. Lastly, every manufacturer ( licensee) that wants to roll out meters needs a grace of three months to enable  them have the  meters available in their warehouses.”

According to him, “The modality to start rolling out meters has to be put in place viz a viz all the various documentations that are required and the infrastructure that will make deployment a smooth running. If we are licensed this month (April) three months are enough for us to prepare, that is April, May and June, while in  July we start  implementation.

“Except for a few of us, who have some stock at hand that can roll out, but the modality to roll out is also a question. Apart from  NERC giving  licences, we still need processes to be put in place before meters will get to consumers because we need to train the meter installers. They need to be adequately trained on installation  in consumers’ premises.

“Consumers also need to be educated on payments; there will also be an “EXCRO account’’ in the process. These are challenges that require a long period. While that one is going on, anybody who wants to place an order from manufactures will also be signing a contract agreement for the meters. Those who want to import will also be making orders for importations,’’ he said.

But NERC insisted that its directive is in accordance with act setting up the MAPs. “On April 3, 2018, the NERC introduced the MAP regulation to new investors in the power sector to fast-track the roll-out of meters through the engagement of third-party investors.

The commission issued permits to MAPs on April 5, in accordance with section 4(3) of the MAP Regulations 2018, to MAPs that were successful in the procurement conducted by Abuja, and Jos Discos. Section 4(3) of the MAP Regulation 2018 requires  all electricity distribution licensees to engage MAPs that will assist as investors in closing the metering gap and thus eliminating estimated billing in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry, NESI,” it said.

Contrarily, Balogun said he could not fathom how the NERC came up with such directive because of the time frame required in the processes. “NERC only engaged few MAPs last week and then we have Mojec and others, including two Discos and we still have about eight to nine Discos which are in the process of licensing. However, the process needs to be expatiated so that the media will have a clear understanding of the issues and the directive.”

He said according to NERC perspective, meter prices have been benchmarked on what was accepted for consumers to pay. He said consumer would be paying between N36,000 to N37,000 on single phase meters and between N63,000 and N67,000 on three phase meters, saying that was the position of the regulator.

“We have the capacity to roll out massively, when the projects kick start and we also pray for that. We have sufficient financial support from financial institutions like the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, and other financial institutions that will support the schemes to have sufficient fund to rollout meters massively,” he said.

– Apr. 12, 2019 @ 16:25 GMT |

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