Nigeria’s federal government policy is hindering metering companies from tapping into the country’s N150 billion (US$920 million) metering market, according to managing director of Momas Electricity Meters Manufacturing Company, Kola Balogun, reports Business Day.

Commenting on Nigeria’s deficit of 4 million meters, and the government’s ruling that only the new electricity distribution companies (discos) can buy directly from manufacturers, Mr Balogun said: “It is policy that is making the market inactive.

“If we can sell meters to estate owners directly, it will open up a little market.”

Under the purchasing agreements, the only exception permitted to the meter-buying regulation is when a disco gives work orders to a vendor, who can then purchase directly from the manufacturers.

Balogun estimates the market is so huge that the metering gap can not be bridged in two to three years.

“In Momas, we can produce at the lowest level 50,000 meters in a month.

“Since November, the new investors have not consumed up to 30,000 meters  – and we need over 4 million meters in the country.”

With the costs of a single-phase and a three-phase prepaid meter ranging between N25,000 and N50,000 (US$150-$300), the metering market is estimated at N150 billion (US$920 million).

Estimated bills

Business Day reports that an industry source said that some discos are reluctant to deploy prepaid meters to consumers because estimated billing, to which many electricity consumers are subjected due to lack of prepaid meters, is helping their revenue base.

In May 2013, the regulator, Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) introduced a new metering scheme, the Credited Advance Payment for Metering Implementation (CAPMI), to address the slow pace of customer metering by the discos as well as the high level of customer complaints.

CAPMI provides a platform for willing customers to pay the cost of the meter into a dedicated account jointly managed by the disco and meter vendor/installer.

Under the scheme, once payment has been made, customers would have their meters installed within 45 days by a NERC-accredited vendor/installer.

A number of the new investors including Eko, Kaduna and Abuja discos are implementing the scheme, according to the report.

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