‘Only certified units should be deployed’
The Nigerian Electricity Management Services Agency (NEMSA) has raised the alarm over some consumers’ refusal to accept smart meters due to perceived distrust that Distribution Companies (DisCos) may have calibrated the units to read faster.
NEMSA Managing Director and Chief Electrical Inspector of the Federation, Peter Ewesor said this is a major challenge in the sector despite efforts by the federal government to bridge the metering gap.
He also faulted non-compliance by meter manufacturers, suppliers and DisCos to ensure that only certified electricity meters with crimp seal and test label by NEMSA National Meter Test Stations (NMTS) are deployed.
According to him, the failure of meter manufacturers, suppliers and DisCos to comply with technical requirements and specifications of electricity meters as specified by Nigeria Metering Code Version 02 (NMC V 02), the Nigerian Electricity Smart Metering Regulation and other extant regulations for deployment and use in Nigeria is a bottleneck that needs to be addressed in the sector.
He, therefore, urged consumers to reject meters that are not duly tested and certified by NEMSA.
He said: “Despite the federal government’s efforts geared towards bridging the metering Gap in Nigeria, there are challenges that stand as a bottleneck preventing its urgent realisation.
“Complaint by some metered customers on deliberate direct connection by-passing their electricity meters leading to estimated billing imposed on them by some DisCos. These consumers alleged that the DisCos would come to their premises saying that their meters are faulty and without any formal information, they will be connected directly and switch them back to estimated billing.”
He also identified a poor earthing system as a major challenge affecting consumers, saying that with it, meters would register consumption due to virtual load when no one is consuming power and consequently, consumers will be paying for energy not utilized.
He stated that the minimum acceptable earth resistance value for buildings and other electrical installations is 2 Ohms, saying that facilities/premises’ electrical installations without adequate earthing would cause the meter to malfunction.
“If your meter is not well installed, there will be a challenge. If you have a meter in your house that the earthing system is poor, your meter will read, whether you are using the meter or not because it will always see a virtual load. Sometimes, some people will connect their meter at the load end, which is at the common point from the changeover. So, whether you are using DisCo supply or you are using your generator, your meter will read. That is what is called double consumption. This has been a big problem within the system.
He added: “I want people to be fully aware that there are experts, we call them unscrupulous energy experts. As the government is working to improve power supply and metering services, other experts are deviant and equally doing their research on how to steal energy without paying for it, but this can be solved when we have a proper smart metering system. The meter will be provided with devices that will counter their stealing tactics and devices.