One of the licensed meter manufacturing companies in the country, Momas Electricity Meter Manufacturing Company Ltd. (MEMMCOL), on Thursday urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to create a credit line of single digit interest rate to meter manufacturers to support manufacturing entities’ current efforts to ensure adequate distribution of meters to electricity consumers nationwide.

The company’s Chairman, Kola Balogun, was quoted by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) as saying that such a monetary policy approach would help in effectively executing the Meter Assets Providers (MAP) schemes.

Balogun identified funding as a major challenge constraining the execution of meter manufacturing projects in the country.

He expatiated: “Essentially, for this scheme to be successful, we will need between N10 to N20 billion for each of the manufacturers. It is a huge capital outlay, we urge the CBN to offer us the credit and also allow us to pay back in single digit interest rate.

“We, MEMMCOL are more than ready to commence because we are well prepared for it. It is just that for us to start execution, we still require the CBN support because of the capital outlay that is required to have efficient deployment. We need CBN to intervene”, Balogun pleaded.

Balogun said that meters manufacturers were at the position of negotiation in term of execution of the MAP programme with the DISCOs, adding that they are just waiting for a letter of engagement and the extent of the volume we are going to be deploying.

While claiming that the capacity is there but that the funding that it required for the projects is a major constraint, he pointed out that the apex bank’s intervention was critical to the projects’ implementation hence the investors’ clamour for CBN intervention.

In addition, he listed other bottleneck, in terms of agreement and condition, as also slowing down the commencement of the projects, adding that there are so many variables involved, such as insurance ability to be able to support the scheme in terms of infrastructure and logistics arrangement.

Balogun explained that these are the things DISCOs want to ascertain before they will now conclude on the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to be submitted to the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).

According to him, it is after the signing of the MoU that NERC will now give proper licences for the operators.

The industry investor assured that the projects would be more beneficial to electricity consumers when they finally flagged off as that issues of estimated billing and over-billing will become a thing of the past for metered customers.

He said: “Once the schemes commence, consumers will now pay into the joint MAP account that will be managed by the meter manufacturers and DISCOs under the Meter Asset Provider Scheme. It is expected that the scheme will commence before May; deployment of meter to customers will also commence in earnest.

“Because after the signing of the MoU, we don’t know when NERC will be able to give us the licence, roll-out schedule will be agreed upon and the mapping of the areas will be going on.

“What NERC wants to do is the totality of substation; in each substation all consumers attached to it will be metered 100 per cent in other to get exact value to the energy auditing process’’, the MEMMCOL boss added.

The introduction of MAP, which introduced meter asset providers as a new set of service providers in Nigeria electricity supply industry by the NERC, is expected to become effective on April 3, 2018,

The DisCos are obliged to achieve their metering targets in line with their licencing terms and conditions as set by the commission under the new power sector regulatory policy regime.