Recall that the scheme was designed by the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, to fill the gap created by the old metering system as contained in the Multi-Year Tariff Order, MYTO, II. The operators allege that inadequate funding of the programme led to shortage in supply of the prepaid meters, thus boosting the continuation of crazy billing.
NERC said the scheme would ensure that electricity customers who were ready to make the advance payment would get prepaid meters within a maximum of 45 days.
For instance customers could pay N25, 000 for single phase or N50,000 for double phase meter. He is expected to get the prepaid meter within 48 hours or maximum of 45 days. This interval includes days of inspections of where the meter will be installed by the Distribution companies, DISCOs.
Meanwhile, NERC said it had already accredited nine, (9) pre-paid meter manufacturers, and 15 importers to implement the metering scheme.
In addition to the list of manufacturers and importer, are also 38 vendors, 11 individual installer and 61 corporate installers were also accredited by the Bureau of Public Procurement, BPP’ without any objection.
NERC acclaimed that due process was followed before the final list of certified Vendors/Installers for the CAPMI Scheme were made public.
However, stakeholders in the sector argued that importation of pre-paid meters would hinder the growth of domestic manufacturers stressing that local content initiative should be allowed to strive in the power sector apart from the oil and gas industry.
The implementation of local content initiative in the sector according to some expert required federal government’s prompt intervention, adding that they are capable of meeting local demand in the country.
Therefore, the successful launch of the CAPMI scheme by various DISCOs across the country seems to have hit the rocks, as electricity consumer’s responds have not been encouraging, thereby leading to over production of pre-paid meters by local manufacturers.
Due to the low response, some of the manufacturers lamented that their production capacities had dropped below 50 percent, a development they blamed on the DISCOs, for not doing enough to sensitise the public about the scheme.
They said, “Business Managers in some DISCOs are not doing enough to sensitise the public about the scheme. They expect meter manufactures to take the campaign to electricity consumer.
“They complain that they don’t have money to do jingles on radio, television and newspaper advert to drive the growth and sustain the scheme and now new investors are trying to do away with the scheme.”
Attempts to get the NERC and any of the new investors to comment on the development proved abortive.
*Kunle Kalejaye, Vanguard