Nigerians are set to bear a staggering N1 trillion burden of electricity meter costs, following the withdrawal of support from the Central Bank of Nigeria and the World Bank.
The Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) has continued to face service delivery challenges across the country, and the way out is not in sight
This situation arises in the wake of the Federal Government’s National Mass Metering Programme (NMMP), which has faced sustainability issues and allegations of corruption.
Despite the support of international organizations like the World Bank and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), fresh challenges have emerged.
One of these hurdles pertains to the planned distribution of 1.2 million meters funded by the World Bank. However, a deadlock between the CBN and the Meter Manufacturers and Assemblers Association of Nigeria (MMAAN) has forced a reevaluation of the project, leading to an additional N40.8 billion cost, according to a report by The Guardian Nigeria.
Concerns also revolve around the calibration of existing five million meters by Distribution Companies (DisCos). There are worries that these meters could read consumption at a faster rate, potentially shortchanging consumers.
The Nigeria Electricity Management Agency (NEMSA) has received complaints about fast-reading meters, although it promises strict monitoring for safety and quality assurance.
The metering gap remains substantial in Nigeria, with only four DisCos successfully metering at least 50 percent of their consumers.
Out of the 12,378,243 registered customers in the country, only 43.31 percent (5,360,434) have received meters, leaving over 7 million consumers subjected to arbitrary billing, News About Nigeria gathered.
Furthermore, meter costs have surged, with single-phase meters now priced at N81,975.16, up from N58,661.69. Consumers face an expenditure ranging from N574 billion to N767.2 billion, depending on the type of meter required.
The CBN’s recent move to freeze accounts of meter-producing companies allegedly involved in shortchanging Nigerians during the NMMP, now speaks to the gravity of the situation.
However, some stakeholders suggest that Nigerians should not bear the burden of meter costs, as meters are property owned by the DisCos.
The issue of metering has also raised concerns about its transparency and fairness in billing practices. Consumers are calling for stricter regulation and penalties for DisCos that fail to adhere to timelines.Top of Form