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Prepaid Meters

End monopoly of Discos in sale of meters to electricity consumers’, EMMAN tells FG

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As a way out of the imbroglio frustrating easy access to prepaid meters by millions of Nigerian electricity consumers’, the Electricity Meters Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (EMMAN) on Monday in Lagos asked a favour from the government to break the monopoly of distribution companies in the sale of meters to electricity consumers.

The Executive Secretary of EMMAN, Mr. Muyideen Ibrahim, in an interview stressed that it would go a long way in addressing the challenges with estimated billings.

EMMAN boss was of the view that “breaking the monopoly will enable electricity consumers procure and own meters directly and save themselves of the multiple rip-off associated with estimated billing model which the Discos had been feeding fat on over the years since the privatization.

According to him, the association had always advocated that government should liberalise the metering arm of the power sector so that everybody could have access to meters, noting that “If every consumer has prepaid meter, it will allow them to manage the electricity consumption, and the Discos will collect revenue maximally without billing outrageously”.

“But now the consumers are short-changed because they are being given estimated bills. It presupposes that the Discos are smiling to the bank while the consumers are suffering.

“Unfortunately, some of the Discos are complaining that they don’t have the fund to invest massively in metering, whereas the meters are available in the various warehouses of the manufacturers.

“If the telecom sector could be liberalised, why not metering? The only thing is that it will enhance the whole power sector and also add value as well,’’ he said.

Ibrahim further called for a metering summit where all stakeholders would come together to discuss challenges facing the Discos and meter manufacturers, adding that manufacturers had invested massively in meters but unfortunately, they did not have enough patronage for them to do more.

Continuing, EMMAN scribe averred that “It would only be driven by technology. The key thing is the metering code and specification that all the meter manufacturers will comply to.

“Liberalising metering in the country will enable all the consumers to have easy access to meters and the issue of estimated billings will just be a thing of the past.

“The local meter manufacturers should be encouraged, and as such the government should provide an enabling environment and facilities such as power for them, because they all rely on generating sets to run their businesses.

While arguing that “The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) should attract manufacturers with intervention funds at single interest rate, this will enable them to import basic raw materials from overseas,” Ibrahim agreed that the policy change would among other things, enable manufacturers to produce at full capacity, employ more Nigerians and also contribute to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Business Hilights can recall that the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), had in 2017 released Draft Meter Asset Providers Regulation for distribution licensee for the electricity distribution company.

A key factor in the regulation was that Discos are allowed to own such meters and repay the customers through energy credits over a period not exceeding five years.

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