FG to liberalise metering, allow consumers buy directly from approve vendors

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The federal government is considering a new policy that would enable consumers to directly purchase pre-paid meters from approved suppliers as part of its efforts to bridge the market gap estimated at eight million.

The Minister of Power, Adebayo Adelabu, disclosed this during a visit to Momas Electricity Meter Manufacturing Company Limited (MEMMCOL) at the weekend.

He also said there was an ongoing plan to make legislation that will increase local content in the power sector and boost the metering of customers, emphasising the urgency of bridging the metering deficit.

With the proposed legislation, he said, the government aims to mandate the integration of locally sourced components and technologies in the production and deployment of meters, foster domestic manufacturing capabilities and ensure affordability and accessibility of meters to consumers.

He assured Nigerians of his commitment to closing the metering gap.

The minister emphasized that by enacting legislation to prioritise local content, the metering deficit would not only be addressed but would also create jobs.

He urged the local meter manufacturers to improve and develop local capacity so that they would not need to import.

Adelabu urged the manufacturers to have a comprehensive plan for full backward integration to grow the sector.

“We are working on a bill to legislate local content in the power sector to sustain local producers just like the one in the oil and gas sector.

“We have up to eight million meters gap in Nigeria and what the initiative seeks to achieve is to close this gap within three to five years, this means that an average of two million meters is required on a yearly basis and achieving the target is compulsory for citizens to enjoy stable power supply,” he said.

According to him, the Meter Assets Providers (MAPs) would provide at least 2,000 meters to the market.

Also, Adelabu said he would initiate discussions with the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and distribution companies (DISCOs) to explore the possibility of allowing individual power consumers to directly purchase electricity meters from approved or accredited manufacturers.

He stressed that the proposed initiative seeks to expedite the meter acquisition process, providing consumers with greater autonomy and expediting the distribution of meters across the country, thereby alleviating the burden of estimated billing.

The minister was optimistic about reaching a consensus that would benefit both consumers and stakeholders in the power sector.

“I’m going to enter into discussion with the NERC as well as the DSCOs to see how we can fast track or accelerate our meter acquisition plan. The meter gap is too huge at eight million so all hands must be on deck and there must be multiple options for us to be able to ramp up on the number of meters we want to install to reduce the gap.

“So, it is a possibility that after discussing with them, we can actually agree that individual power consumers buy electricity meters on their own from approved or accredited manufacturers,” he said.

Adelabu said one of the considerations is to mop up available meters assembled in-country and incentivise indigenous manufacturers to enhance their plant capacities to meet demand structure of the Presidential Metering Initiative (PMI).

Source: The Guardian

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