Analysts in Nigeria’s power sector have roundly described the new plan of the federal government to invest in electric meter manufacturing companies as a clear acceptance of failure and managerial incapability of power Distribution Companies (Discos).
It would be recalled that part of the conditions upon which Discos were announced bid winners in the privatization of the sector include ability to meter Nigerian electricity consumers with prepaid meters.
Statistics and endless outcries over scarcity of the meters show that Discos have failed in that aspect of the privatization deal.
Only recently, it was reported that Discos are clearly avoiding investments in meter production because they make more money in fleecing electricity by estimated billing system which they claim to have inherited even though the key aim of the unbundling of power sector is to end estimated billing and revolutionize the industry.
More than four year after, no clear plan to end estimated billing due to artificial scarcity of prepaid meters.
Analysts say for the federal government to think of investing in meter production means Discos are above the terms and conditions upon which they were considered as bid winners in power distribution.
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola has stated that Federal government will invest N39 million to electric meter manufacturing companies to increase consumer confidence and boost revenue.
Fashola who was represented by Minister of State II, Hon. Suleiman Hassan Zarma stated this in Abuja, during the commissioning of 1x100MVA, 330/132kV power transformer at Katampe Substation, Abuja.
He stated government intends to allocate power directly from the generating company to large consumers, adding that several regulations are being put in place to ensure seamless generation, transmission and distribution of power.
While being silent on why Discos have over the years failed to meter their consumers with prepaid, Fashola said “Eligible customer regulation allows large consumers to buy their power directly from GENCOs and then contact TCN, DISCOs and investors to have the power delivered to them.
“The Meter Service Regulation can unlock investment into meters which is urgently needed to win consumer trust and boost collection efficiency.
“Government seeks to apply that policy through a private company and local meter manufacturers to invest N39bn in meters as settlement of a court judgement against government.
“Some distribution companies are already perfecting and trying on franchising arrangement that will enable customers focus on solution for difficult customer population” the Minister averred.