06 March 2014, Lagos – A member of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Power, Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, has urged the new managements of all electricity distribution companies to patronise local meter manufacturers in the spirit of the local content initiative.
She made the call during a recent facility tour of Momas Meter Manufacturing Company Limited, an indigenous pre-paid meter concern.
She said, in statement on Wednesday, there was no need for the DisCos to be importing meters into the country, adding that locally produced meters were standard enough for the power sector’s consumption.
Dabiri-Erewa said, “I was shocked when I saw all the equipment at MEMCOL meter manufacturing company in Nigeria. I don’t believe that we can have this kind of facility and sophisticated equipment in Nigeria and we are still complaining about metering challenges.
“Despite the local companies’ strive to manufacture energy meters, we still go ahead to import meters; this is very bad for our system. I was amazed with what I saw. It will be a big shame if we do not make use of what I saw there as regard meter manufactured in our own country.”
The lawmaker decried the lack of patronage of indigenous meters and promised to discuss with the other members of the committee on power on how to boost the patronage of local meters in the country.
She enjoined all the DisCos to ensure that all their customers were metered to curb the practice of estimated billing that had been a big challenge to electricity consumers in the country.
He said, “We are going to invite the DisCo owners, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, Ministry of Power and other stakeholders in order to know why local manufacturers are not being patronised.
“Nigeria deserves better electricity service and we as parliamentarians will get to the root of the challenge in the sector. There is the need for us to give a deadline to all DisCos on the installation of pre-paid meters to all electricity customers in the country, but we gathered that most new owners are facing challenges of finance and are actually cash-crunched.”
The Chairman, Momas Meter, Mr. Kola Balogun, also decried the poor patronage of locally-made electricity meters by the government agencies.
“Indigenous manufacturers do not get enough patronage from government ministries and that is why our economy is not growing,” he said.
According to him, the revolution in telecommunications can be sustained in Nigeria through indigenous innovations.
He said, “The story of poor patronage is still the same in meter manufacturing where foreign firms are better patronised and recognised by government agencies. I can confidently say that we (the local manufacturers) of meters can meet the country’s supply needs, if patronised.”
Balogun stressed that employment opportunities would triple if local manufacturers got more support from governments at all levels.
He said that the local content policy of the government would not succeed if home-made innovations were not adequately utilised
He said that Nigeria’s power sector reforms would be meaningless if more considerations were not given to local manufacturers of electricity equipment.
Balogun said that access to credit would boost the activities of indigenous manufacturers in the power and telecommunications sectors.
“Nigeria has reached a stage where it is not supposed to be importing meters. In our company alone, we have a production capacity of 500,000 to one million meters a month,” he added.
– The Punch