Chinedu Byron Izuora-Abuja
The Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo today in Abuja announced the readiness of the Federal Government to inaugurate over one million prepayment electricity meters to reduce the metering gap across the country.
Nebo who gave this indication at a town hall meeting with stakeholders, organised by the ministry, said that the intervention was to help electricity distribution companies, in which government had 40 per cent share, to reduce the metering gap.
The minister noted that Government still owns 40 per cent of the DISCOs and government is still maintaining its counterpart funding adding that a mechanism is being worked out for the equitable distribution of the products to the companies.
“We still believe that every consumer should be metered; the only way to stop over billing is to provide meters to consumers,” he said.
He said that the availability of the prepayment meters was critical to the abolition of estimated billing by distribution companies.
On pipelines vandalism, he said that plans were underway by government to digitise the pipelines to forestall vandalism and that there is the need for a legislation to provide stiffer penalties to punish pipeline vandals.
The minister who claimed that the country had the highest rate of electricity theft worldwide said however that the Federal Government is collaborating with security agencies to protect pipelines across the country.
“Sabotage incidents have constrained gas supply plants and held generation at less than 4,500 mega watts. In spite of the challenges, there had been improvements in power supply in the country.
“It is a shame for some people to go about saying that government has not done anything in the sector,” he said.
He said that the current administration inherited a dilapidated power sector but under the gas master plan, all power plants had been connected to the 450 kilometre gas pipelines constructed by the Federal Government.
Earlier, the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Dr Godknows Igali, said that the meeting was aimed at getting feedback from consumers and other stakeholders.
He said that prior to the privitisation of the sector, most Nigerians were skeptical about its success.
In attendance at the meeting were distribution and generation companies, non-governmental organisations and some individual stakeholders.