NERC moves to address metering problems
Nigeria Electricity Regulation commission (NERC) has unveiled its plans to address issues bordering on metering in the sector.
The Assistant General Manager, Networks and Engineering Standards, Engr. Tasiu Gidari-Wudil, made this known at a workshop organized by the Nigeria Society of Engineers (NSE), Apapa branch, on Thursday.
With the theme ‘Effective Metering in Nigeria: A Win-Win Approach’, the workshop attracted discussants from Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Consumer Protection Council (CPC), Nigeria Institute of Electric and Electronic Engineers and others who lent their voices to the way forward in tackling the issue of metering.
Gidari-Wudil also disclosed the commission’s effort to save the situation by setting up a committee to investigate fraudulent activities with regard to metering.
According to his presentation, only 46 per cent of customers of distribution companies (Discos) are metered and only three Discos have metered up to 50 per cent of their customers.
It will take 20 years to close the metering gap, he said, adding that gap and losses were part of reasons for privatization of the power distribution sector, as customers were made to pay for meters by NEPA/PHCN without getting them.
To achieve the win-win approach, NSE Vice President, Engr. Zedomi Tunde, said both the distributor and consumer should understand that electricity is no longer a social entity that is for free and that the estimated bill, which has generated much controversy in Nigeria, must be looked into.
He said that the methodology adopted by distribution companies to mount meters on the electric poles is not the best approach to resolve issue of electricity theft.
He therefore, urged power distribution companies to device a means to address the issue of metering.
Meter being a device that monetize electricity, customers claim to be unfair the high billing under the “estimated billing” methodology introduced by NERC, which the discos follow to bill customers without meters.
However, this issue of bogus bill according Engr. Akan Michael, representative of Nigeria Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, requires attitudinal change of customers. “Customers by-pass electricity, which brings inaccuracy in reading the meter,” he added.
Speaking at the workshop, chairman of NSE, Apapa branch, Engr. Ombugadu Garba, called on independent bodies to take up the responsibility of testing the meters instead of Meter assessment provider (MAP) has failed ab initio “customers are complaining of the speed reading of the meter and the inaccuracy of the meter.
Why do we take the meter back to same people who approved the meter with the same equipment?” he questioned.