The Federal Government said it will offer the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) N93 billion to meter almost a million customers in the Federal Capacity Territory (FCT) and other states in the North central zone.
The project, which comes under the National Free Mass Programme, is expected to be funded by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Recall that under the sales agreement the government owns 40 per cent in each of the 11 distribution companies (DisCos) except Yola DisCo, which has been taken over by the government.
Under the scheme, Eko DisCo had earlier in the month announced that 100,000 of the single and three phase meters would be installed in some areas of Lagos, while Ikeja Electric (IE) said 106,701 prepaid electricity meters would be installed within the next two months. The National Mass Metering Programme (NMMP) has also started in Kano DisCo and Kaduna DisCo.
The Managing Director, AEDC, Ernest Mupwaya, while kick-starting the programme in Abuja, said the N93 billion would be enough to meter all customers including replacement of defective meters.
“The Federal Government of Nigeria who has 40 per cent shareholding, have sourced sufficient funding to support DisCos through a low interest shareholder loan that will make it possible for Discos to receive sufficient meters to close the metering gap for good,” Mupwaya said.
According to him, the move would improve remittances to the sector and create jobs, adding that the Abuja DisCo had planned the installation of over 101,000 meters at a cost of N6billion without charging customers.
“The rest of the meters will be installed 18 months after, through a comprehensive roll out programme that will result in simultaneous installations in all three states of Niger, Kogi and Nassarawa in addition to FCT,” Mupwaya said.
To him, metering of customers has a huge positive implication not only to the electricity industry but to the entire economy in a number of ways, as massive metering would create jobs through installation and inspections of meters after installations.
Other jobs would come from meter manufacturing, logistics and supply chains associated with making meters available in Nigeria.
Mupwaya sees metering as a measure of transparency in electricity transactions, and would result in increased revenues that could be channelled into service improvement.
“Improved services will support improved economic activities that will impact both informal and formal sectors. This will lead to an electricity industry transformation along with numerous spill-over effects to the economy,” he noted.