FG orders DisCos to resume free meter distribution

…45 local meter manufacturers are jostling for the FG contract

The federal government has instructed electric utilities to resume the Meter Assets Providers program, recently slowed by the National Mass Metering Program.

Although the DisCos MAP has been around for a few years, the NMMP program under the office of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo was introduced in 2020 to bridge the wide metering gap in the Nigerian electricity supply industry, NESI.

While the MAP barely reached 400,000 homes in 2020, FG’s Phase 0 NMMP intervention managed to reach over 800,000 homes.

The Chairman of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, Garuba Sanusi, said last week that Phase 1 of the Federal Government’s NMMP was due to commence in August and as a result DisCos had been ordered to resume and accelerate the MAP.

“By the end of August, the meters from local manufacturers will be deployed by the DisCos. As a result, DisCos have been ordered to reopen MAP, and customers are urged to take advantage of the window to purchase their own if they cannot wait for the free meters,” he said.

He revealed that 45 local meter manufacturers are currently jostling to be signed up under FG’s meter supplier program.

Sanusi added that bids have already been submitted by all 45 manufacturers and the selection process has begun.

“The names of the tender winners will be announced as soon as the process is complete,” he said.

NMMP Phase 1 targets four million households.

Counting expert and accountant Sesan Okunade said The punch that NERC shouldn’t have stopped MAP from working in the first place.

“First of all, I don’t know why NERC shut down the MAP program which was working well. If the program hadn’t been stopped, we would have come a long way with the metering gap because customers are willing to pay for meters. Also, it would have put the DisCos on their toes and reduced the estimated billing given to customers.

Still, he said NERC’s order to take over the program was a welcome development.

“It’s always a welcome idea that will allow customers to pay for what is actually consumed,” he said.

The National Chairman of the Electricity Consumers Association of Nigeria, Barr Chijioke James, said The punch that DisCos need to take their responsibilities more seriously.

“Customers pay for their meters even when Discos is responsible for metering each consumer. Even when most consumers are paying, it takes a while to be assigned meters. This is despite the presidential directive on the mass production of meters and their nationwide distribution to consumers. We believe that Discos must be aware of their responsibility in the electricity sector,” he said.

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