The Group Managing Director of Mojec International Limited, Chantelle Abdul, has said that Nigeria is about 80 per cent far behind metering its teeming population.
This implies that some millions of the connected houses out of the estimated 206 million population according to the United Nations’ data are not metered.
Adbul made the assertion on Wednesday at the ongoing Nigeria Energy conference while on a Fireside Chat on ‘Smart Electricity Metering – The critical link in strengthening the country’s electricity grid’.
Nigeria had in September 2013 unbundled and partially privatised its power sector to establish a competitive market intended to improve management and efficiency, attract private investment, increase generation, and provide reliable and cost-efficient power supply.
Abdul noted that at a time, the country had one power holding company, the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), a utility customers could not trust, stressing that the sector still faced inefficiency.
“Today we now have, as most of us know, 11 utilities (Distribution Companies) in the nation. So, what is needed of us is that the meters enable the end users to not only be billed for what they consumed but also to pay for what they consume,” she said.
Not only that there is a huge gap in distribution but there are concerns to pay for and buy the electricity the country produces, she said, “It is important that Nigeria meters energy flow from the point it is generated to transmission and then to distribution.”
In answering the question on what strategy to adopt to improve collection on metering, the Mojec GMD expressed that with smart metering the utilities are able to know the units of power consumption by the end users at a particular time and what the billing should amount to.
With smart metering, the utilities could see through the advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) when a meter is being tempered with by a customer and when leakages happen, from transmission and possibly down to the street where the customers reside, she said.
“A meter today is built to sense at least 200 different activities that customers are fond of gluing to these machines that are intelligent to be able to detect either tempering or bypass,” Abdul said.
According to her, Lagos State should be getting about a minimum of 3000 megawatts of electricity, lamenting that the two utilities (Ikeja Electric Plc and Eko Electricity Distribution Company) combined are probably distributing about a 1000 megawatts to address the demand of a population of about 20 million people in the state.
Abdul, while also responding to the question on meter availability and effectiveness, said the Mobile Meter Access Provider (MAP) programme has been very much effective in trying to close up the metering gap.
She said, since 2019 when it was initiated, the country gained about 600,000 to 700,000 metering, adding that the Notice on the National Mass Metering Program (NMMP) is the same as the federal government did about one million meters in 2021.
“We have contributed that much into the sector. Phase one of the NMMP is about to start. It is supposed to have started earlier since the beginning of the year, however, it will commence at the end of this year. We are going to see about two to four million meters in addressing the metering gap,” she said.
Meanwhile, the MAP metering programme gives customers the option of paying for a meter, while the money is refunded to them through the issuance of energy credit over a period of 36 months, while the NMMP is part of the government’s effort to further bridge the country’s metering gap and also cushion the effect of the service reflective tariff (SRT) on electricity consumers in the country.