FG to Spend N269.38bn on Six Million Free Meters

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 The Federal Government is to spend between N269.38bn and N497.13bn on the provision of six million free meters to various unmetered power users across the country.

Also, findings from separate quarterly reports of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission on the power sector showed that the number of unmetered customers in Nigeria has reduced by 210,359.

It was also gathered that about 245,916 unmetered power consumers would not benefit from the six million free meters, as Nigeria currently has about 6,245,916.

On Thursday, a presidency source told reporters in Abuja that the government would commence its free meter distribution scheme the following day with Kano, Kaduna, Eko and Ikeja electricity distribution companies’ franchise areas.

The PUNCH reported on Friday that the presidency official, who pleaded not to be named as he was not authorised to speak on the matter, explained that the exercise would be carried out under the National Mass Metering Programme.

“The NMMP is to roll out six million meters for all connection points on grid without meters over the next 18 to 24 months, estimated to impact 30 million consumers nationwide,” the official stated.

It was also gathered that the mass metering scheme took effect after a recent directive by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to the Central Bank of Nigeria.

Based on the directive, the CBN approved guidelines for funding the programme, which entailed that all meters under the scheme would be locally sourced in order to create more jobs.

Our correspondent gathered from the NERC that most meters used by power consumers in Nigeria come in single phases and three phases.

The power sector regulator in June approved a hike in the prices of both meters.

The commission increased the price for a three-phase meter from N67,055.85 to N82,855.19, while the cost of a single-phase meter was raised from N36,991.50 to N44,896.17.

Going by the hike in prices, findings showed that for three-phase meters, a total of N497.13bn would be required to provide the six million meters planned for free distribution nationwide.

On the other hand, for the single phase meter, a total of N269.38bn would be required to provide free six million meters.

It therefore shows that the government would need to spend a minimum of N269.38bn to freely provide the six million meters planned for nationwide distribution.

However, data in the most recent quarterly report of NERC showed that the number of unmetered customers in Nigeria was more than six million.

Unmetered customers in Nigeria, according to analysis of the first quarter 2020 industry report that was recently released by the commission, was 6,245,916.

This indicates that a total of 245,916 power users may not benefit from the free six million meters that are planned for distribution by the government.

Findings from separate NERC quarterly reports showed that while the number of unmetered customers in Nigeria in the fourth quarter of 2019 was 6,456,275, the figure dropped by 210,359 to 6,245,916 in the first quarter of this year.

The commission said in its recent report, “Although there was a slight improvement during the quarter, the huge metering gap for end-use customers remains a key challenge in the industry.

“The records of the commission indicate that of the 10,477,856 registered electricity customers as at the end of the first quarter of 2020, only 4,231,940 (40.39 per cent) have been metered.

The Punch

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