By Constance Athekame
The Federal Government has concluded arrangements to begin the second phase of its metering programme, tagged “National Mass Metering Programme (NMMP)”.
This information is contained in a statement from the office of the Special Adviser to the President on Infrastructure, Mr Ahmad Zakari, in Abuja on Friday.
The statement said that NMMP is expected to drastically reduce estimated billing by Electricity Distribution Companies (DISCOs).
It said NMMP would ensure that consumers are billed appropriately for the electricity they consume by installing meters free of charge in household and business premises that are currently unmetered.
“The Federal Government provided funding for the programme through loans from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to DISCOs.
“Meters are provided to customers free of charge. This is indeed unprecedented and has so far led to the tremendous success recorded so far.
“It will be recalled that the first phase was launched later than expected in December 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with a target of one million meters across the country.
“Till date, 750,000 meters have been delivered to DISCOs in just under eight months,” it said.
According to the statement, NMMP is a marked improvement in terms of the speed of installation of meters compared to its predecessor (Meter Asset Provider – (MAP), which recorded 350,000 meter installations in over 18 months.
It said essentially the Nigerian Meter Industry has increased local installation capacity by a multiple of five.
“In preparation for the Second Phase (known as Phase 1) of the NMMP, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has conducted extensive consultations and stakeholder management, and has revised its metering guidelines.
“This phase will provide up to four million meters and shall also use a similar financing mechanism as in the first phase.
“One of the key successes of the NMMP initiative is how rapidly it has increased private sector interest in investing in the local meter assembly, manufacturing and installation space.
“This is in addition to the springing up of new factories such as the Quantum meter assembly plant in Lagos and the Smart Meter assembly plant in Kaduna.
“We are also seeing the refurbishment and upgrade of some metering plants that have also fallen into disrepair such as EMCON in Kaduna,” it said.
The statement said that this development in the meter assembly space is driven by the Central Bank’s commitment to support local meter assembly/manufacturing.
It said that under NMMP, only local companies will be allowed to participate in the bidding process for the upcoming phase of the programme.
It said NMMP promises to increase the job creation impact of the programme which has already attained appreciable heights with over 10,000 direct jobs created in the first phase.
“For the second phase, a central procurement mechanism to be overseen and supervised by the NERC will be employed in order to ensure that meters are secured at the lowest possible cost, thereby reaching the goals and objectives of the NMMP.
“The commencement of the procurement process of the second Phase has been done strategically to ensure that there is no gap in meter supply to customers as the NMMP transit from the first Phase to the second Phase.
“The Minister of Power, Mr Mamman Sale, has emphasised the administration’s commitment to eliminate the metering gap by 2023.”
He said that the continuation of the NMMP was in line with the Federal Government’s agreements with Organised Labour , the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC), on Electricity sector reform. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)