01 October 2014, Abuja – The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission has said it will not allow the importation of electricity meters into the country as long as local manufacturers have the capacity to meet demand.
The NERC said it was committed to promoting local content in the nascent private sector-driven power sector, adding that there were huge business opportunities in the sector.
Speaking on Tuesday at the 6th Annual Distinguished Lecture of the Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors, Lagos Chapter, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, NERC, Dr. Sam Amadi, said, “We will not allow importation of meters unless we have a proof that local manufacturers cannot meet the demand, as we are committed to enhancing local production.”
Some of the local meter manufacturers are Momas Electricity Meters Manufacturing Company Limited, Mojec International Limited and Electricity Meter Company of Nigeria, which are poised to meet the pent-up demand in the country, according to the Electricity Meter Manufacturers Association of Nigeria.
Commenting on complaints of non-deployment of prepaid meters by the electricity distribution companies, the NERC boss said the commencement of the transitional electricity market later in the year would force the private investors who acquired the successor power companies last year to live up to the performance agreements they signed with the government.
“Most of the conditions precedents for the commencement of the transitional stage have been attained,” said Amadi, who was represented by the Deputy General Manager in the commission’s Engineering Division, Mr. Abdullahi Muhammed.
Based on the proposals submitted by the core investors in the Discos, 6.52 million new meters will be installed over the course of five years, meaning more than one million will be installed yearly.
The metering gap in the market is very huge, with about 50 per cent of consumers being without meters, according to a committee on metering recently set up by NERC.
“Consumer metering is a major challenge to the viability of the Discos. Presently, there is still a very high reliance on the notorious practice of estimated billing for revenue collection, which is estimated to be as high as 50 per cent in some Discos,” Amadi said.
He noted that customers’ restiveness had been heightened by the very high estimated bills being distributed by the Discos despite the present poor state of supply from the grid.
“Discos have equally displayed poor compliance to the estimated methodology developed by the commission to assist in ensuring objectivity in estimation of electricity customers’ consumption,” he further said.
The President, NIQS, Mallam Murtala Aliyu, said the challenges of gas supply and weak transmission presented huge opportunities for Nigerians to invest, adding that the opening up of the transmission business to private investors would further expand the opportunities.
“Presently the state of the national electricity transmission network capacity is at about 4,500MW; beyond this value, the integrity of the network is threatened,” Amadi had said.
NERC had recently proposed a regulation on national content development for the power sector, aimed at establishing a framework for the development of the sector in a way that there would be increased localisation of technology, services and employment opportunities for Nigerians.
He draft regulation seeks to retain at least 95 per cent of available jobs in the power sector for Nigerians in order to increase local participation in the emerging new industry, among others.