The Federal Government, yesterday, commenced the distribution of six million free pre-paid electricity metres to Nigerians through the National Mass Metering Programme (NMMP), with the launch of the scheme in Eko, Kano, Kaduna and Ikeja Distribution Companies (DisCos) franchise areas.
While speaking at the take off of the programme, held at Surulere, Lagos State, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Eko DisCo, Adeoye Fadeyibi, hinted that in the next 18 to 24 months, over six million metres would be distributed across households in the country.
He said the NMMP would increase Nigeria’s metering rate, eliminate estimated billing and strengthen the local metre value chain by increasing local metre manufacturing, assembly and deployment capacity.
Fadeyibi added that the initiative will also reduce collection losses, increase financial flows to achieve 100 per cent market remittance obligations of the DisCos and support Nigeria’s economic recovery by creating jobs in the local metre value chain while also ensuring customers only pay the exact value for their energy consumption.
He revealed that key stakeholders to monitor the launch of the metre distribution include Lagos State government representatives, the Senate Committee and House of Representatives Chairmen on Power as well as representatives of Organised Labour and Civil Society Organisations.
Fadeyibi added that at Eko DisCo, over 100,000 metres would be rolled out to their consumers in the next few weeks for the first phase of the programme, adding that the remaining gaps would be filled under the NMMP.
He appealed to the consumers to support the government to stamp out the menace of energy theft in the industry to enable the DisCos account for the amount of energy used, noting that if this was not handled, the market would experience a shortfall, which could be a threat to the stability of the sector.
He said: “Electricity as we all know is an important essential need of any society and we all have acknowledged the menace of the estimated billing both on the customers and even we as a business. It is my belief that with this mass metering initiative we can begin to say we are on a path to getting it right.
“Like the popular saying, to whom much is given, much is expected, the metering programme is just the beginning. Our work now starts by being our brother’s keeper. For us to enjoy the benefits of the metering programme, all hands must be on deck to support all the stakeholders – Federal Government, state governments, DisCos, meter manufacturers, etc. in ensuring that we stamp out another menace of energy theft through metre tampering and free riders.
“We will continue to strive to serve you better and ensure you enjoy a delightful customer experience at all times. We admit we are not where we want to be in terms of service, but it is our pledge and determination to keep pushing the needle of service excellence in serving you our customers.”
NMMP is expected to roll out six million metres for all connection points on grid without metres over the next 18 to 24 months and is estimated to impact over 30 million consumers nationwide.
The programme is also a demonstration of the current efforts by the Federal Government to improve power supply and mass metering as part of the agreements recently reached with Organized Labour.