Senate Decries Slow Pace of Prepaid Meter Distribution Despite CBN’s ₦33bn Intervention

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Prepaid meters

The Senate has decried the poor rollout of prepaid meters by the electricity distribution companies (DisCos) to consumers despite the release of ₦33billion support by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Chairman, Senate Committee on Power, Senator Gabriel Suswam, expressed his dissatisfaction during a visit to the Nigerian Electricity Management Services Agency (NEMSA) yesterday. NEMSA is a Federal Government agency with a mandate to enforce technical standards and regulations in the power sector through inspection, testing and certification of electrical equipment and products.

Senator Gabriel Suswam, Chairman, Senate Committee on Power

Suswam condemned the poor rate of deployment of the meters despite the fact that the apex bank had released ₦33billion out of the ₦59billion earmarked for the project. “About ₦59billion was set aside by the CBN but the sum of ₦33billion has been disbursed already and some meters have been produced even though the deployment has been very poor but that is ongoing,” he said.

The Federal Government had in October 2020, launched the National Mass Metering Programme (NMMP) as part of its effort to bridge the country’s metering gap and also eliminate the controversial estimated billing system.

Suswam, however, assured that there would be a substantial increase in the number of meter manufacturing companies in the country as CBN to providing funds to those who are ready to start the business. “There is seed money at the CBN which they can take at single digit for them to be able to start manufacturing meters so that the issue of complaining of lack of meters and the issue of estimated billings will be a thing of the past,” he noted, adding that many potential manufacturers of meters are already taking advantage of the funding facility.

However, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of NEMSA, Peter Ewesor, commended the Federal Government for introducing the National Mass Metering Programme, which is aimed at producing about six million meters by 2022. He said the agency has certified more that 15 companies in the last nine months who would soon commence local production of meters as that is a major condition for accessing the CBN funds.

 

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