Chairman of Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, Dr. Sam Amadi has urged the Electricity Distribution Companies, DISCOs, to patronise locally made metres.
Amadi, who stated this in Abuja during a press conference on ‘Local Content in Metring of Customers and other Matters,’ said that in the last couple of weeks there had been so much agitation by local manufacturers of metres on low patronage by the distribution companies.
He reiterated the commitment of NERC to promoting local content in the electricity industry in Nigeria.
According to him, “NERC is strongly committed to promoting local content because we want the growth in electricity sector to contribute to improvement in job creation. That was why in 2012, we made the regularization of local content, obligating every operator in the Nigerian electricity market to continue localization of employment, services and technology.”
He said that the mechanism in the local content is carefully designed not to intervene with the efficiency gains expected from a privatised electricity market.
To give bite to local content obligation in metring of customers, he explained that “NERC imposed a restriction on certification of meter importers.
“We demanded that every such importer must produce proof that the distribution company that gives it supply order cannot source such number of meters from local manufacturers. In other words, as long as there is available supply from local manufacturers to meet demand by distribution companies NERC will not approve importation of meters”
The NERC boss said that the regulatory institution had received petition from some local alleging that some distribution companies have violated the local content obligation by installing imported metres when there are locally manufactured meters and have started investigation of the allegation.
He also said that the commission would mete out severe sanctions to any operator who violates the regulations on metering and local content.
Amadi also said that the commission has also received complete technical work on the Regulation on Smart Metering, which will provide framework for deployment of smart meters to protect the revenues of the distribution companies and help customers better manage their electricity consumption.
He also said that NERC wants to push the distribution companies to high levels of efficiency and customers accountability and has authorised distribution companies to monitor in order to prevent, detect and prosecute customers who by-pass or clone metres, tamper with electrical installation, or in any way defraud them of approved revenue.
NERC issued a strong warning to customers: “I want to warn customers to stop engaging in criminal acts of stealing power, it is this sort of sabotage at the retail level that increases the commercial losses that increase tariff that consumers pay, so it is in the interest of consumers to report their neighbours who engage in such criminal activities to the distribution companies and the security forces.
“Therefore, we call on the police authorities to step up prevention and prosecution of criminal activities in the electricity market,” the chairman declared.

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