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Prepaid Meters

May rollout of prepaid meters by MAPs, Discos unrealistic due to logistics—Balogun

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Strong indications have emerged showing that it is no more feasible for the nationwide rollout of prepaid meters for electricity consumers by Meter Access Providers (MAPs) and electricity Distribution Companies (Discos).
Recall that on April 5, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) issued permits and further directed MAPs to begin roll-out of new meters not later than May 1, 2019.
However, checks across the regions showed that no Disco or MAP is set to roll out meters due to logistics and meter availability issues.
Though the policy provides 70 per cent imports and remaining 30 per cent from local meter manufacturers, no MAP can currently boost of having enough to ground and import documentations are still ongoing.
Giving clearer insights in an interview, chairman of Momas Electricity Meter Manufacturing Company Ltd, Kola Balogun, doubted the possibility of the deadline, saying “The directive cannot work”.
He explained that “In the first instance, 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 (MAP licensee) that wants to roll out meters needs a grace of three months to enable them have the meters available in their warehouses.
Balogun further stressed that “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”.
Continuing, he added that “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 few numbers 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 “EXCO account in the process. These are challenges that require a long period.
Momas chairman further noted that “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 which would not have been delivered before May 1.
While saying that he couldn’t fathom how the NERC came up with such May 1 directive due to the time frame required in the processes, Balogun revealed that “NERC only engaged few MAPs last week and then we have Mojec and others, including two Discos and we still have about 8-9 Discos which are on the process of licensing”.
Business Hilights recalls that NERC had earlier last month made it clear that while installation of prepaid meters for customers will begin this month by MAPs in association with Discos, meter prices have been benchmarked as consumers would be paying between N36,000 to N37,000 on single phase meters and between N63,000 and N67,000 on three phase meters.

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