Electricity: Discos turn to local meter manufacturers to meet deficiency

*Electricity meters.

*Electricity meters.

Oscarline Onwuemenyi

26 July 2016, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The 11 electricity distribution companies operating in Nigeria have denied reports that they have refused to patronise local meter manufacturers, even as the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has insisted on full metering of consumers before the end of the year.

Speaking through Mr. Sunday Oduntan, the Executive Director of its umbrella body, the Association of Nigeria Electricity Distributors (ANED) on Friday, the group assured local meter manufacturers of its members’ readiness to patronise the product to grow local contents.

According to Oduntan, three out of 11 Electricity Distribution Companies (Discos) are currently patronising the indigenous meter manufacturers in the country.

He added that Discos purchased all the NERC-approved Credited Advance Payment for Metering Implementation (CAPMI) meters from local meter manufacturers.

CAPMI came about due to the slow pace of customer metering by the DISCOs, as well as the high level of complaints received from customers and dissatisfaction with the current estimated billing practices.

It provides a platform for willing customers to pay the cost of the meter into a dedicated account jointly managed by the DISCO and meter Vendor/Installer. Once payment has been effected, the customer will have their meter installed within 45 days, by an NERC accredited Vendor/Installer.

Oduntan said that Discos would have wished to patronise local manufacturers from the beginning of the privatisation if their prices were competitive and if they had the ability to do vendor financing.

“The issue of metering is tied to payment; it is tied to money if we do not have money, how do we buy cash and carry?”

He added that “We are more than ready to patronise our local manufacturers. I know of three Discos that fully patronised them presently. We are aware that they put more into the production. Even our banks are not helping the situation because they are not financing these metering projects.

“We want the local content to grow and we are willing to partner with them and patronise them in the interest of Nigeria,” he said.

The executive director said that another area affecting local manufacturers was the bank interest rates.

“Also some foreign partners are ready to collect money by installment after it has been installed for consumers in Nigeria,” he said.

Oduntan said, “It is in our interests to patronise our local manufacturers and I assure Nigerians that we will do that.”

The executive director said that Discos had installed at least 2.2 million households out of over five million households metering gap inherited after privatisation of defunct PHCN.

Meanwhile, the Executive Secretary of Electricity Meter Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (EMMAN), Mr. Muyideen Ibrahim, said most of its members had to retrench some of their staff because they could not sustain them due to poor patronage.

EMMAN also complained that the low patronage by electricity distribution companies (Discos) could result in non-sustainability of its business.

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