•Why prepaid meters are costly – Mojec
By Prince Okafor
With over 10 million households in Nigeria yet to be provided with electricity meter, the Federal government has commenced the National Mass Metering Programme (NMMP) in partnership with the eleven Electricity Distribution Companies, DISCO, Mojec International Limited, along with other metering manufacturing companies in the country.
The NMMP is to roll out six million meters for all connection points on the grid that are currently without meters over the next 18 to 24 months. It is estimated to cover about 30 million consumers nationwide.
It is also expected to reduce the metering deficit in the country by 66.7 per cent.
Vanguard gathered that under the programme, the federal government would make funds available for the payment of the prepaid meters and the DISCOs would distribute to households free.
Subsequently, customers will pay back the cost of the meters over a period of time.
Speaking during the NMMP launch in Lagos, the Commissioner for Energy, Lagos State, Mr. Olalere Odusote, said the essence of prepaid meters is to ensure that everyone in Lagos understand the energy they are consuming and pay for it.
“One of the major concerns of consumers is that the bills they are charged is not reflective of their power consumption.
“What the state government is doing is to ensure that it underwrites the metering programme it is providing, so instead of having consumer pay for meters that they need immediately, the state government will prepay and consumers would repay overtime.
“The meters would be available and your inability to afford a meter would not stop you from getting a meter. The Lagos State Government is committed to ensuring that all Lagosians are metered by the end of the current administration.
“In terms of the payment, we are still engaging with the DISCOs to come up with a modality.”
Also, EKEDC, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Engr. Adeoye Fadeyibi stated that the Mass Metering programme is a welcome development and a boost to the deepening of the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry, NESI.
“The programme couldn’t have come at a better time than now given the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on businesses and household income. For us at Eko, we will be rolling out over 100,000 meters in the next few weeks in the first phase of the programme.
Similarly, Ikeja Electric Plc (IE) has embarked on the distribution of prepaid meters to 106, 000 customers under the National Mass Metering Programme (NMMP) approved by the Federal Government.
According to the Acting Chief Executive Officer of IE, Mrs. Folake Soetan, “Ikeja Electric is rolling out over 106,000 prepaid meters to customers across its six Business Units – Ikeja, Abule-Egba, Akowonjo, Oshodi, Ikorodu and Shomolu.”
She said that this was for the first phase of the programme, which would run till the end of 2020. Beneficiaries of this programme, which will cut across all locations in IE network, will not be required to pay upfront for the installation of meters.
Soetan was of the view that the modalities of cost recovery for the meters would be clearly defined and communicated to the beneficiaries.
Cost of Prepaid meter
Speaking during the launch, the Group Managing Director, Mojec International Limited, Chantelle Abdul, said the metering programme is an initiative of the federal government to ensure that Nigerians get meters fast and close the metering gap.
She also hinted that the swiftness of the process is predicated on the availability of funds, adding that Mojec and Eko Disco have been partnering for many years to get meters in the hands of Nigerians.
“I think the difference here is that the government has provided the funding necessary so that the Discos will not have to do so much to afford the meters. The government has intervened with some financing to ensure that Discos are able to acquire the meters,” she said.
The cost of the single and double phase meter is still going to be the same as in the MAP price, because what a lot of people do not realise is that the price we are going for is not just the cost of the meter, it is the cost of the different services we are doing on it, such as meter, and survey.”
“We will survey houses and ensure they are meter ready, we are also going to consider other things. A meter doesn’t exist by itself, there are so many accessories. So, all of these are included in that price.
“The difference with this national metering Programme is the customer doesn’t have to pay for the meter upfront anymore. The payment is borne by the government and the Discos. The only thing is that the cost of the meter is embedded in the tariff.”
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