The Minister of Power, Mr Sale Mamman, says the Federal Government is making tangible efforts to address the electricity metering challenge facing the country.
The minister gave the assurance in a statement by his Special Adviser, Media and Communications, Mr Aaron Artimas, in Abuja on Thursday.
Mamman, who spoke in Yola at the inauguration of the mass metering programme for the Yola Electricity Distribution Company, noted that the implementation of the mass metering programme had started to yield results.
“I am glad that Nigeria has finally gotten it right on the long existing challenges of metering consumption in the country.
“It is with great pleasure that I stand before you at this landmark event to inaugurate the intervention policy of the Federal Government towards closing the metering gap in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry.
“This occasion is a clear testimony of Yola Electricity Distribution Company’s commitment to providing its customers with enhanced service delivery.’’ he said.
The minister said that the Nigerian electricity market had for many years struggled with inadequate revenues; thus, creating significant liquidity challenges for all market participants in the value chain.
He said that one of the major contributors to the funding challenge was the low level of metering for end-users.
According to him, this is the principal reason for customer resistance to payment of electricity bills, due to the perceived lack of confidence and trust in estimated billing.
“The often-repeated reason for the low level of metering has been attributed to the inability of Distribution Companies (DisCos) to raise financing for the purchase of meters,’’ he said.
Mamman, however, commended President Muhammadu Buhari for supporting the DisCos with the much-needed financing toward the bulk acquisition of meters.
He described the intervention of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in the provision of long-term low interest loans to the DisCos as a boost to the sector.
“I am especially happy to inform you that the Federal Government of Nigeria has granted Yola Electricity Distribution Company (YEDC) a soft loan of N5.061 billion for sourcing of 85,376 meters.
“This meter comprises 62,324 single-phase and 23,052 three-phase meters, under phase zero (0) of the National Mass Metering programme.
“I, thus, call on the management of YEDC to make good use of this facility to significantly reduce the Aggregate Technical Commercial and Collection (ATC&C) losses, which negatively affect the revenue stream of the company.
“I also urge you to use the facility to improve electricity supply to your esteemed and valuable customers,’’ he said.
Mamman, nonetheless, called on customers of YEDC to desist from bypassing electricity meters.
“This is not only on account of protecting the revenues of the DisCos, but more importantly, for the safety of customers, as there have been reports of consumers losing their lives in the course of bypassing meters,” he said.
He urged electricity consumers to be patient, as it would take some time to install the thousands of meters needed to close the metering gap.