By Constance Athekame
The Minister of Power, Mr Sale Mamman, says that the electricity metering challenge across the country is being addressed.
Mr Aaron Artimas the Special Adviser, Media and Communications to the minister, made this known in a statement in Abuja on Thursday.
Artimas said that the minister spoke in Yola at the inauguration of the mass metering programme for the Yola Electricity Distribution Company.
According to Mamman, implementation of the mass metering programme is beginning to yield result.
“I am glad that Nigeria has finally gotten it right on the long existing challenges of metering consumption in the country.
“It is with great pleasure that I stand before you at this landmark event to inaugurate the intervention policy of the Federal Government towards closing the metering gap in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry.
“This occasion is a clear testimony of Yola Electricity Distribution Company’s (YEDC) commitment to providing its customers enhanced service delivery.’’ he said.
The minister said that the Nigerian electricity market had for many years struggled with inadequate revenues, thus creating significant liquidity challenge for all market participants in the value chain.
He said that one of the major contributors to the funding challenge was the low level of metering for end-users.
According to him, this is the principal reason for customer resistance to payment of electricity bills due to the perceived lack of confidence and trust in estimated billing.
“The often-repeated reason for the low level of metering has been attributed to the inability of Distribution Companies (DisCos) to raise financing for the purchase of meters,’’ he said.
The minister also commended President Muhammadu Buhari for supporting the DisCos with the much-needed financing toward the bulk acquisition of meters.
He described the intervention of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in the provision of long-term low interest funds to the DisCos as a boost to the sector.
“I am especially happy to inform you that the Federal Government of Nigeria has granted Yola Distribution Company a soft loan of N5,061 billion for sourcing of 85,376 meters.
“This meter comprises 62,324 single-phase and 23,052 three-phase meters under phase zero (0) of the National Mass Metering programme.
“I thus call on the management of YEDC to make good use of this facility to significantly reduce the Aggregate Technical Commercial and Collection (ATC&C) losses which negatively affects the revenue stream of the company.
“I also urge you to use the facility to improve electricity supply to your esteemed and valuable customers,’’ he said.
Mamman called on customers of YEDC to desist from by-passing electricity meters.
According to the minister, this is not only on account of protecting the revenues of the DisCo, but more importantly, for the safety of customers as there have been reports of consumers losing lives in the course of by-passing meters.
Mamman urged customers to be patient as it would take some time to install the thousands of meters needed to close the metering gap. (NAN)