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Prepaid Meters: Energy Experts Call for Review of Prices, Installation Process

Stakeholders in the electricity sector have called on the federal government to review the pricing of prepaid meters as the second phase of the National Mass Metering Programme (NMMP) is set to commence.

They said this at the just-concluded power sector dialogue in Abuja themed ‘Assessing the Progress of the NMMP’.

The NMMP is an initiative of the Federal Government and electricity distribution companies (DisCos) working in collaboration with local meter manufacturers to provide smart prepaid meters to all unmetered customers.

The Federal Government provided funding for the program through loans from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to DisCos. Meters are provided to customers free of charge.

Speaking at the event, the energy experts, who scored President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration high on metering compared to past governments, said the pricing of prepaid meters as part of the procuring process is crucial.

Odion Omonfoman, Chief Executive Officer, New Hampshire Capital Limited, lauded the successful intervention of the NMMP.

He, however, said that although phase zero of NMMP was adjudged successful, it recorded numerous issues. He listed incorrect declaration of meter quantities in-country by a few meter vendors, difficult logistics of clearing meters at the ports, inaccurate customer data and rejection of the meters by some customers and poor remuneration of meter installers as some of the issues.

According to him, these are lessons that can be utilised to enhance the implementation of the NMMP.

“Meter installation is very important. The meter installer is as important as the local meter manufacturer,” Omonfoman said.

“Based on our experience, we need to engage competent and experienced installers for Phase One, and their remuneration needs to be prioritised as a key component of the pricing for both the MAP and the NMMP so that there are enough installers who are dedicated to rolling out the meters”.

In his remarks, Ali Yusuf, special assistant (power regulations) to the president, office of the vice president, stated that the procurement process under phase one of NMMP had already begun.

He added that consultants have been engaged to visit and assess the meter manufacturing and assembling capacity of each local meter manufacturer to ascertain the true local manufacturing capacity and prevent the false declaration of meter capacity.

On his part, Bode Longe, consultant, strategy and corporate planning, Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC), said the CBN had done well in funding the nation’s metering programme.

In November 2021, the federal government increased the prices of single-phase and three-phase prepaid electricity meters.

It had said the upward review of meter prices is due to “the recent changes in macro-economic parameters.

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