The Federal Government is set to commence the second phase of its electricity metering program tagged National Mass Metering Programme, after deploying 750, 000 units during the first phase which commenced last December.
The mass metering programme is expected to drastically reduce estimated billing by Distribution Companies (DisCos) and ensure consumers are billed appropriately for the electricity they consume by installing meters free of charge in household and business premises that are currently unmetered.
The Federal Government provided funding for the program through loans from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to DISCOs.
It will be recalled that the 1st phase (Phase 0) was launched later than expected in December 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, with a target of one million meters across the country.
The government in a statement by Power Sector Working Group disclosed that till date, 750,000 meters have been delivered to DisCos in just under eight months.
“This is a marked improvement in terms of the speed of installation of meters compared to its predecessor (Meter Asset Provider – MAP program) which recorded 350,000 meter installations in just over 18 months. Essentially the Nigerian Meter Industry has increased local installation capacity by a multiple of 5.
“In preparation for the Second Phase (known as Phase 1) of the NMMP, the Nigerian electricity sector regulator, NERC, has conducted extensive consultations and stakeholder management, and has revised its metering guidelines. This phase will provide up to 4 million meters and shall also use a similar financing mechanism as phase 0.
“One of the key successes of the NMMP initiative is how rapidly it has increased private sector interest in investing the local meter assembly, manufacturing and installation space. In addition to the springing up of new factories such as the Quantum meter assembly plant in Lagos and the Smart Meter assembly plant in Kaduna, we are also seeing the refurbishment and upgrade of some metering plants that had been also fallen into disrepair such as EMCON in Kaduna.
“This development in the meter assembly space is driven by the Central Bank’s commitment to support local meter assembly/manufacturing as only local companies will be allowed to participate in the bidding process for the upcoming phase of the program. This promises to increase the job creation impact of the program which has already attained appreciable heights with over 10,000 direct jobs created as a result of the phase 0 of the program”, the statement added.
The government explained that for phase 1, a central procurement mechanism to be overseen and supervised by NERC will be employed in order to ensure that meters are secured at the lowest possible cost, thereby reaching the goals and objectives of the NMMP.
“The commencement of the procurement process of Phase 1 has been done strategically to ensure that there is no gap in meter supply to customers as the NMMP transitions from Phase 0 to Phase 1”.
The Minister of Power has emphasized the administration’s commitment to eliminate the metering gap by 2023.
The continuation of the NMMP is in line with the Federal Government’s agreements with Organised Labour (NLC and TUC) on electricity sector reform.