The engagement of only two firms for the country’s national metering rollout has created a capacity challenge, The Guardian has been informed.
The exclusion of the remaining manufacturers, experts said, threatens the National Mass Metering Programme (NMMP) and the acutalisation of key targets.
This comes as stakeholders in the power sector have urged the Federal Government to engage the services of the more local meter manufacturers to meet its target of metering all households in the next five years.
Momas Electricity Meters Manufacturing Company Limited (MEMMCOL) and Mojec International are the firms that have been engaged in the distribution while the others are left out.
Speaking with The Guardian, Chief Executive Officer, Unister Hi-tech System Limited, a meter manufacturing company, Bolarinwa Atilade said his company was not engaged in the NMMP and that the conditions of being part of the programme had not been communicated to them.
“We would like to know the criteria used to select the organisations that are directly engaged in the scheme. As a pioneer in the electric prepaid meter business, we humbly expect that our company would be participating fully in bridging the metering gap.
“However, representatives of the Federal Ministry of Finance and that of Trade, Investment and Industry were in our factory in December 2020 to assess our production capacity and expertise. We hope to be part of Phase one of the NMMP and we are into various marketing efforts with the seven DisCos where we presently have our meters in their networks.
President, Nigeria Consumer Protection Network (NCPN), Kola Olubiyo said that estimated and arbitrary billing provided DisCos a leeway to exploit consumers. He said it was sad that they have institutionalised arbitrary billing in the post-privatisatised electricity sector.
He added that the original intents of the NNMP were designed to promote local content and encourage indigenous meter manufacturers to expand and upscale inclusive growth and sustainable development across the metering value chain.
Also, General Manager (Operations), Adroit Metering Services, Olusesan Okunade, stated that the NMMP has not lived up to the expectation of Nigerians because of its un-tardiness, lamenting that even those who had paid for meters under the Meter Asset Provider (MAP) were yet to be serviced.
He noted that there were strong indications that the NMMP scheme is not free as claimed by the government while lamenting what he described as discrepancies in the scheme.
“If one million meters were rolled out as claimed, by now we should have gone a long way. For me, the metering has not lived up to expectations as several people are still yearning under the estimated billing, which I feel the government should look at it.
“Part of the challenges is that the modalities of installing the meters that are supplied are not clear and that is slowing down the pace of the activities of the DisCos to carry out the installation. Government should do what is necessary to put the right modalities under NMMP in place or we go back to MAP because people are ready to pay.”
He added that to have an effective mass metering the government must step aside and allow liberalities to take place in the sector.