IMG 20170311 205004 | Metering: Experts urge Nigerian government to review pricing, port congestion | The Paradise

Metering: Experts urge Nigerian government to review pricing, port congestion

Electricity experts have called for the review of pricing of prepaid meters, port congestion, political risks and other policy issues as the first phase of the National Mass Metering Programme, NMMP, begins.

The experts, who lauded the efforts of the government on metering, said the pricing of prepaid meters as part of the procuring process was very key.

The experts spoke at a programme tagged Power Dialogue, with the theme ‘Assessing the Progress of the National Mass Metering Programme, NNMP’.

Speakers at the event, drawn from federal institutions, electricity distribution companies, DisCos, and metering companies, noted that despite some challenges, the NMMP Phase 0, targeted at delivering one million prepaid meters to consumers, was successful compared to past efforts on metering.

In his speech at the event, the Chief Executive Officer, New Hampshire Capital Limited, Odion Omonfoman, explained that the NMMP has been quite successful in terms of the number of meters installed for Nigerians.

He said: “The NMMP is directly responsible for a rapid increase in local capacity in metering, particularly local meter manufacturing and assembly capacity and meter installation capacity.

“I would score the NMMP Phase 0 high. The NMMP is not the first metering intervention by the Federal Government. In fact, there were several mass metering interventions under the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN. There were also others under the former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan’s governments, but none of them was able to make so much positive impact.”

However, Mr Omonfoman argued that despite the success of the Phase 0, it recorded some issues, including the incorrect declaration of meter quantities in-country by a few meter vendors, difficult logistics of clearing meters at the ports, inaccurate customer data and rejection of the meters by some customers and poor remuneration of meter installers.

He noted that lessons should be learned from the imperfection of the fist phase, to enhance the implementation of the NMMP.

“Meter installation is very important,” he said.

“The meter installer is as important as the local meter manufacturer. Based on our experience, we need to engage competent and experienced installers for Phase one and their remuneration needs to be prioritized as a key component of the pricing for both the MAP and the NMMP so that there are enough installers who are dedicated to rolling out the meters”.

He also called for policies that could address potential risks, including foreign exchange for the procurement of meter components, port congestion, litigations with local meter manufacturers that could arise in the future, and the risk of bad behavior by local meter manufacturers and DisCos.

These, he said, must be put into consideration in the next phase.

In his intervention, Special Assistant to the President on Power Regulation, Office of the Vice President, Ali Yusuf, highlighted the gains and achievements of the NMMP, as well as some of the challenges in Phase 0, adding that it would serve as learning points in the implementation of Phase 1.

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He noted that the procurement process under phase 1 had already commenced, and that consultants have been engaged to visit and assess the meter manufacturing and assembling capacity of each local meter manufacturer. This is meant to ascertain the true local manufacturing capacity and prevent the false declaration of their meter capacity.

Mr Yusuf was optimistic that the NMMP would meet its target of installing 4 million meters by the end of the programme, noting that the NMMP was not the only option available to DisCos to meter their customers. He enjoined DisCos to take advantage of other structures in the Regulations such as the MAP and vendor financing, to ensure that the metering gap is closed.

The consultant, Strategy and Corporate Planning, Abuja Electricity Distribution Company, AEDC, Bode Longe, on his part commended the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, for it’s intervention, adding that the apex financial institution has done well in funding the nation’s metering programme.

The CBN recently said that it has disbursed N47.66 billion to DISCOs under its mass metering scheme, which led to the acquisition of 858,026 meters.

Speaking at its Monetary Policy Committee meeting in Abuja, CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, added that the DisCos have also received another N37.6 billion for the Nigeria Electricity Market Stabilisation Facility (NEMSF-2).

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