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Momas faults NERC’s directive on rollout of new meters from May 1

-By Yange Ikyaa

Momas Electricity Meter Manufacturing Company Limited has said that the directive by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to meter manufacturers to begin the roll out of new meters by May 1 is not feasible, and unrealistic.

Kola Balogun, Chairman of the company, said in Lagos on Sunday that rolling out meters by May 1 as directed by NERC was unachievable, considering other challenges that required attention.

It would be recalled that on April 5, NERC issued permits to Meter Asset Providers (MAPs) to roll-out new meters not later than May 1, 2019.

According to Balogun, the directive cannot work; 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 but 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 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 N36,000 to N37,000 on single phase meters and between N63,000 and N67,000 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, 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 (NESI).