FG To Close 8 Million Metering Gap In 3 Years

Uche Cecil Izuora

The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has said that the country’s 8 million metering gap would be effectively closed in the next three years as government is set to commence the second phase of the National Mass Metering Programme.

The exercise would take off in the first quarter of 2022, the agency said.

Already, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has disbursed the sum of N47.66 billion so far for the acquisition of 858,026 meters under its Mass Metering programme.

Chairman of NERC, Mr Sanusi Garba, told journalists in Lagos, that about 980,000 electricity customers were metered across the country under the 0 Phase of the exercise which was flagged off by the Federal Government on October 30, 2020.

Garba said the target of the Phase One was to install pre-paid meters for four million customers in order to bridge the metering gap in Nigeria.

He said, “For phase one which is four million meters, a Project Implementation Unit has been established. That unit is going to do the competitive procurement by the local meter manufacturers to supply the meters.

‘’You have to do a competitive process to get value for money. We don’t want a situation whereby manufacturers unilaterally decide on the price. That is almost about to kickstart now.”

He said, “As you all know, these meters have components that are largely imported and it takes time to ship, to clear through customs and for the NMMP meters to be available.’’

Garba explained that the Meter Assets Providers (MAP) scheme had to be implemented together with the NMMP by DisCos because the MAP providers already had existing agreements with the DisCos to supply them with meters and as such, could not stop the scheme.

He said, “We now decided that the MAP should run concurrently with the NMMP with a very clear structure. The reason we have asked MAP to continue is because the metering gap is so big and it will take two to three years to close the metering gap.

“So if you are a consumer today and you are anxious to get a meter then you don’t need to wait for NMMP meter, which is free. You can go through the MAP route and get your meter immediately and get your money back through energy credit from the DisCos.’’

The NMMP was initiated by the federal government to close the metering gap in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry and ensure that consumers are billed appropriately for the electricity they consume by installing meters free of charge in household and business premises.

The scheme which has helped increase private sector participation through investing in local meter assembly, manufacturing and installation, is also expected to assist in reducing collection losses, while at the same time, increase financial flows to achieve 100 per cent market remittance obligation of the DisCos.

Part of the objectives also include the elimination of arbitrary estimated billing, improving network monitoring capability and provision of data for market administration and investment decision-making.

Garba, further said that local meter manufacturers have been put on notice and that the Commission will help in facilitating foreign exchange to enable them import necessary components to assemble the meters in support of the exercise.

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