By AUSTIN OWOICHO, Abuja
An indigenous meter manufacturer, Mr Kola Balogun, says the Meter Asset Providers Regulations (MAPR) policy will bridge the widening metering gap in the electricity supply industry.
Balogun, the Chairman, Momas Electricity Meters Manufacturing Company Ltd., disclosed on Thursday in Lagos on the importance of the MAPR initiated by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).
It will recall that a meter asset provider is an entity that is granted a permit to give metering services, including meter financing, procurement, meter tests, supply, installation, maintenance and replacement.
Balogun said that the new regulation on metering would stand as a relief for electricity consumers as it would enable them to get meters as quickly as possible.
He said that the new arrangement was aimed at eliminating the estimated billing practice, attracting private investment into the provision of metering services and closing the metering gap through accelerated meter rollout in power sector.
According to him, the new metering regulation initiated by NERC was commendable, which he described as a “step in the right direction’’.
Balogun said: “The only language electricity consumers understand currently is metering of their premises which Discos are not doing.
“The meter manufacturers have meters, but we cannot sell it directly to the consumers, so there is a big gap.
”Now that MAPR has come up, it is another scheme that can be explored so that consumers will be metered as and when due,” he said.
Balogun said that MAPs would source a minimum of 30 per cent of their contracted metering volume from the local meter manufacturing companies in Nigeria.
“It is a very big lift; it will enable the meter manufacturers to be busy and enhance their capacity. We were even agitating for 70 per cent local content.
“The potential is there for the local manufacturers, but the capacity utilisation is low.
“It will allow some investors to inject a high-value capital into the metering scheme, which will eventually lead to the liberalisation of metering, because there is an opportunity for consumers to pay and get meters immediately.
“Let’s pray that the implementation will be as good as the policy, because most of the time we have good regulation, the implementation will be defective,’’ Balogun said.
The Momas chief said that access to foreign exchange required to source raw materials from abroad was a major challenge for local meter manufacturers.
He said: “Now that the MAPR regulation is coming up, it will allow investors to invest in metering and they will be able to partner with us, the manufacturers, in order to inject funds into the production of meters.
“Let’s hope that the Discos will be willing to partner MAPR, which is the shortcoming I have seen that might happened; because metering is part of what they hold as their strengths to run the Discos.
“ Let’s hope that it will be easier for them so that they can face the primary responsibility of providing electricity for the consumers.
The Commissioner, Legal, Licensing and Compliance of NER, Mr Dafe Akpeneye, had explained that MAPR would now take up the duty of providing meters to customers, among other functions.
Akpeneye said that the main objective of the regulations was to provide standard rules to encourage the development of independent and competitive meter services in the electricity supply industry and eliminate estimated billing.
The provisions of the regulations are to be enforced by NERC from April 3, 2018.