16 January 2015, Abuja – has approved funds for the procurement of one million electricity meters.
This is coming as the Federal Government on Thursday shifted its earlier target of generating 6,000MW of electricity before the end of 2014 to 2015.
Addressing the complaints of power consumers and civil society organisations during a town hall meeting in Abuja, the Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, said the private sector owners of the electricity distribution companies inherited a lot of customers who had no meters.
He said, “The private sector inherited a customer base in which 50 per cent do not have meters. Nigeria has the highest per capital electricity theft in the world. That is why we are now doing smart meters and we are moving to a place where the meters will be mounted on poles, because something has got to be done fast.
“As a result of the burden on the Discos due to meter issues, the President has provided funding to give over one million meters to Nigerians to reduce the gap and then allow the Discos ensure that all customers are given meters.”
Asked to state when Nigerians would start seeing the meters, Nebo said, “The fact is that the funding has been approved by Mr. President and the funds will be released very soon. These meters are being procured and I do think that in the next couple of months, you will begin to see them because the mechanism still needs to be developed on how they will be shared to the distribution companies.
“They (Discos) will distribute and install these meters and these are all being worked out. Some people may not be happy to give you meters, but we think we should continue to insist that every consumer must be given a meter because the only way to stop estimated billing is to provide these meters.”
Electricity consumers who do not have meters receive estimated bills monthly.
This has been widely criticised by stakeholders who argue that the development is being abused by the electricity distribution companies to extort money from their customers by issuing inflated bills based on estimation.
On the country’s new power generation target, Nebo said, “We have an outlook for 2015 to 2017. People are saying you people said you will do 6,000 megawatts, yes! We have the capacity standing, we now have the gas standing and we are going to do that shortly within this year. But beyond that, by 2016 we expect to get up to 10,000MW and by 2017 to get 12,500MW.”
Statistics obtained from the ministry showed that peak generation on Wednesday was 4,405.6MW; energy generation, 4,000.63MW; while energy sent out was 3,914.60MW. Peak demand was, however, put at 12,800MW.
On gas pipelines vandalism, Nebo said the country lost an average of 1,000MW in 2014 as a result of the activities of vandals.
He called for the speedy passage of bills that would ensure “severe punishment of pipeline vandals, because anytime the country’s power generation crosses the 4,000MW mark, vandals will strike our gas installations and end up dragging down the figure.”
The minister noted that the ministry was working with security agencies to address the issue of vandalism, stressing that the government was seeing the menace as sabotage against its power reforms.
– The Punch