It’s unrealistic to expect rollout of new meters by May 1, manufacturer tells NERC

Manufacturing Company Ltd . says Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission’ s directives to begin the rollout of new meters by May 1 is not feasible or realistic .

Chairman of the company , Kola Balogun , told the reports gather in Lagos on Sunday that rolling out meters by May 1 as directed by the NERC is not achievable , considering other challenges that require attention.

Reports that on April 5 , NERC issued permits to Meter Asset Providers to roll out new meters not later than May 1 , 2019 .

According to Balogun , the directive cannot work; arguing 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 (licensee ) that wants to roll out meters needs a grace of three months to enable them have the meters available in their warehouses .

“ 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 , ‘’ he said .

“ 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, 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 .

“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, ’’ Balogun explained .

The indigenous meter manufacturer 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 8 – 9 Discos which are on the process of licensing .

“ However , the process needs to be expantiated so that the media will have a clear understanding of the issues and the directive .

He said that according to NERC perspective , meter prices have been benchmarked on what was accepted for consumers to pay.

He said that consumer would be paying between N 36 , 000 to N 37, 000 on single phase meters and between N 63, 000 and N 67, 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 CBN and other financial institutions that will support the schemes to have sufficient fund to rollout meters massively .

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 Meter Asset Providers (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 require 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.

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