Metering electricity consumers has remained a serious challenge in Nigeria’s Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) as utility companies struggle to fill the void more than eight years after the sector was divested to private investors.
Data from the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) showed that at least 8.1 million of the country’s 12.8 million current customers were unmetered in November 2021.
NERC says only about 4.66 million end users, representing 36% of the entire pool, had been fully metered by the end of November 2021.
In an attempt to address this problem, the Federal Government has launched the National Mass Counting Program (NMMP), an initiative focused on mass counting of Nigerians by providing loan facility from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to DisCos for the purchase of meters for its customers and local meter manufacturers.
This is to ensure it supplies more than four million meters, as estimated billing encourages a lack of transparency and accountability, which worsens tariff collection.
Previously, distribution companies across the country had already stopped providing free meters to consumers following a NERC directive, which raised asset prices and helped delay the launch of NMMP.
In the first phase of the NMMP called Phase (Phase 0), over one million meters were estimated to be deployed in about six months, but the process was delayed as prevailing challenges crippled the deployment of assets. At the end of the phase, a little less than a million meters would have been distributed.
However, to address the challenges associated with the second phase of the NMMP which continued to place the burden of electricity meters on consumers, NERC announced the Meter Asset Provider (MAP) and National Mass Metering Regulations.
To ensure that the Federal Government‘s attempts to address metering issues, MOJEC International, a pioneering company in the manufacture of local meters, is leaving no stone unturned to ensure that unmetered electricity consumers in Nigeria have access to meters. .
It launched the Mobile Meter Asset Provider (MOJEC Mobile MAP) initiative. The initiative was to simplify the processes involved in meter acquisition and ensure customers were metered within 24 hours.
Group Managing Director, MOJEC International Limited, Chantelle Abdul, said in a statement that the initiative was to bring meters to consumers’ doorsteps.
She reiterated MOJEC’s commitment to providing meters to end users, as metering is essential for both consumers and electricity providers. This commitment is to build trust between consumers and distribution companies. MOJEC will also manufacture over 100,000 meters for business units under Ikeja DISCO for the Mobile MAP.
Launched in April, the Mobile MAP initiative in partnership with Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC), Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company (IEDC) and Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC) was to expedite the delivery of 24-hour meters to customers interested in the MAP bias. Initiative.
By extension, it is a continuation of the NERC-endorsed Phase 2 Meter Asset Provider (MAP) initiative, which adopted “metering at your doorstep” as its mantra. The initiative aims to consolidate the rigorous general meter installation process that includes KYC, inquiry, payment, acquisition and installation in less than 24 to 48 hours.
Team Leader, MOJEC, Titilope Oyelade revealed during the launch of the program in the Sango business unit recently, that the Mobile MAP initiative will be rolling out for the next two months across the various business units of the nine DisCos with which the MOJEC is currently partnering. . She said each DisCo should measure at least 100,000 customers under the initiative.
Oyelade added that the MOJEC launched the Mobile MAP program in response to persistent calls from consumers for prepaid meters to save them from the threat of estimated bills and other under-the-table transactions that they see as economically strangling. She explained that the process of acquiring meters was made so simple that all interested customers had to register on their DisCo’s website.
It was estimated that there would be more than 10,000 meters available to distribute monthly to customers in the Sango Ota axis and that the exercise would be continuous as long as consumers made requests for the meters.
The total number of meters currently distributed in phase 2 of the MAP is 96,552.
IBEDC Sango Unit Commercial Director Olujide Odutuyo said the company partnered with MOJEC because of its desire to make prepaid meters available to all consumers so that every consumer has a measure of the quality of the electricity it consumes.
He urged consumers to adopt Mobile MAP as it will eliminate estimated billing and it is a faster alternative to NMMP. Under it, he postulated that consumers can be measured in less than 24 hours, as all processes from KYC to inquiry, payment and installation are completed in record time.
On his part, Head of Counting Projects, MOJEC, Michael Onuorah, said that to face the challenge of extortion in the industry, MOJEC in collaboration with Ikeja DisCo has developed an automated payment reference system with PayStack. and Remitta through which customers can initiate payment for their meters.
“It promotes transparency and accountability. We believe this will expedite the federal government’s mass counting program.
Smart meters allow electricity consumers to manage their consumption and eradicate outrageous estimated billings. It also benefits utility companies by providing revenue protection services, detecting power and bypass incidents, and issuing reports for tampering events.
Oluyemi Ayanga, Shomolu Business Unit Manager, Ikeja Electric said; “Consumers are now satisfied because they can now manage what they consume in terms of electricity for the month, which would improve their level of confidence. With this, customers are satisfied and when they are, I am also satisfied.
It should be noted that MOJEC International last year partnered with the Sahara Foundation, Energy Training Center and Ikeja Electric to train several metering staff as part of a capacity building program for counting end users in Lagos.
The partnership was part of efforts to improve and enhance skills while boosting the development of technicians in the Nigerian power supply industry.
According to the MOJEC, supporting metering technicians equipped with the necessary skills to conduct efficient metering is key to improving the performance of the sector.
He said this would lead to increased revenue collection, which in turn would strengthen overall transmission and distribution capacity in addition to significant improvements in capital spending in the industry.