*273,000 meters tested by NEMSA out of 1.023 million
*Urge FG to scrap import duties on meters
Lagos — Electricity distribution companies or Discos operating in Nigeria have declared that the 2021 deadline to meter all electricity consumers across the country might not be feasible due to high import duty.
Executive Director, Research and Advocacy, Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors, ANED, Sunday Oduntan, who spoke on behalf of the group, said high import duties were slowing the metering target of the Meter Asset Providers, MAP, regulation.
According to the statement, the Nigerian Electricity Management Services Agency, NEMSA, which tests and certifies meters for the Discos, recently confirmed that although the Discos were to present 1.023 million meters for testing in the first phase of MAP scheme which began in May 2019. However, only 273,000 meters have been tested and certified by NEMSA due to the hiccups the MAP firms are facing in the importation of meters.
The Discos then called on the Federal Government to intervene in finding a means to cut the duty on imported meters, to enable faster metering of customers.
According to Oduntan, some MAP companies have the capacity to install about 3,000 meters per day for the Discos if the meters are available.
“There should be zero percent import duty on meters. We must assist local meter manufacturers to bring in components duty-free until Ajaokuta Steel Company is ready. The high import duty at the ports is killing the power sector.
“When customers are metered, they would be happy. Estimated billing is not good for the Discos’ revenue collection drive. While those importing meters are finding it hard because of the import duty, the local meter manufacturers are also finding it difficult to continue production because they have to pay import duty on, at least, seven different components which they import for use in producing the meters in Nigeria”, Oduntan said.
The group said the power firms should not be blamed for the current slow process of providing meters for their customers as that role was alienated to the MAP companies since the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC implemented the MAP regulation in 2019 and gave permits to metering firms to provide and install the meters for Discos.