From Isaac Anumihe, Abuja
Federal Government has said that till date, over 750,000 meters have been delivered to the Electricity Distribution Companies (DISCOs) in eight months.
The presidency released this, at the weekend in a statement, as it commences the process for the Second Phase of National Mass Metering Programme (NMMP) aimed at ending estimated billing.
This figure, the statement said, is a marked improvement in terms of the speed of installation of meters compared to its predecessor (Meter Asset Provider – MAP- programme) which recorded 350,000 meter installations in just over 18 months.
“Essentially, the Nigerian Meter Industry has increased local installation capacity by a multiple of five.
In preparation for the Second Phase (known as Phase 1) of the NMMP, the Nigerian electricity sector regulator, NERC, has conducted extensive consultations and stakeholder management, and has revised its metering guidelines. This phase will provide up to four million meters and shall also use a similar financing mechanism as phase 0.
“One of the key successes of the NMMP initiative is how rapidly it has increased private sector interest in investing the local meter assembly, manufacturing and installation space.
“In addition to the springing up of new factories such as the Quantum Meter Assembly Plant in Lagos and the Smart Meter Assembly Plant in Kaduna, we are also seeing the refurbishment and upgrade of some metering plants that had fallen into disrepair such as EMCON in Kaduna.
This development in the meter assembly space is driven by the Central Bank of Nigeria’s commitment to support local meter assembly/manufacturing as only local companies will be allowed to participate in the bidding process for the upcoming phase of the programme.
“This promises to increase the job creation impact of the programme which has already attained appreciable heights with over 10,000 direct jobs created as a result of the Phase 0 of the programme.
For Phase 1, a central procurement mechanism to be overseen and supervised by NERC will be employed in order to ensure that meters are secured at the lowest possible cost, thereby reaching the goals and objectives of the NMMP. The commencement of the procurement process of Phase 1 has been done strategically to ensure that there is no gap in meter supply to customers as the NMMP transitions from Phase 0 to Phase 1.
“The Minister of Power has emphasised the administration’s commitment to eliminate the metering gap by 2023.
The continuation of the NMMP is in line with the FGN’s agreements with Organised Labour (NLC and TUC) on Electricity Sector Reform” the presidency, said.
The commencement of the second phase of the metering programme expects to drastically reduce estimated billing by DISCOs.
According to the statement, the Federal Government provided funding for the programme through loans from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to DISCOs.
Recall that the first phase (Phase 0) was launched later than expected in December 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with a target of one million meters across the country.