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Senate panel laments poor electricity meter distribution despite release of N33 billion

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Prepaid meters. PHOTO: Amos Kobor

•NEMSA certifies 15 firms for local production
The Senate has lamented that despite the release of N33billion to local firms producing electricity meter in Nigeria, distribution of the measuring device by the various electricity distribution companies to consumers across the country is still very poor.

Expressing concerns over the issue on behalf of the Senate, yesterday, in Abuja, the Chairman, Committee on Power, Gabriel Suswan, wondered why the distribution of the meter was poor despite the fact that the Central Bank of Nigeria had released N33bn out of the N59billin set aside for the project.

He spoke during his committee’s visit to the Nigerian Electricity Management Services Agency (NEMSA).
NEMSA is a Federal Government agency saddled with the responsibility of enforcing technical standards and regulations in the power sector through inspection, testing and certification of electrical equipment and products.

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The Federal Government, in October 2020, launched the National Mass Metering Programme to increase the country’s metering rate and eliminate arbitrary estimated billing. The CBN is expected to provide financing support to the DisCos and local manufacturers to produce meters for customers.

Suswan said: “There is a presidential initiative that saddled the Central Bank of Nigeria with the responsibility of providing money to those who are ready to start meter manufacturing in the country.

“There is a seed money at the CBN which they can take at single digit for them to be able to start manufacturing meters so that the complaint about lack of meters and estimated billings by customers will be a thing of the past.

“Many potential manufacturers of meters are already taking advantage of the initiative. There will be a lot of meter manufacturers in Nigeria within the next two years.”

He said the country could not wait for all the certified local manufacturers to start producing meter for distribution, hence the DISCOs have been permitted to import the product.

According to Suswan, NEMSA has a lot of responsibilities to carry out in the power sector but it is not being properly funded.

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“They have the technical know-how to test all the electricity equipment coming into the country. The Act that sets up NEMSA empowers it to apply sanctions but it is not adequate.

“What we are doing as a parliament is that we have initiated an Electricity Act for the country to take care of most of the infractions that go unpunished most of the time.”

Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of NEMSA, Peter Ewesor, commended the Federal Government’s policy, which is aimed at producing about six million meters by 2022.

“All those who have been bringing in meters from outside the country now have to establish factories in Nigeria.

“We have actually certified well over 15 companies in the last nine months because they know that if they are not producing meters in Nigeria, they will not have access to the facilities that the government is providing through the CBN.

“NEMSA already has various meter testing centres across the geopolitical zones in the country and we have been effective in discharging our responsibilities despite paucity of funds and inadequate personnel,” Ewesor said.

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