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- Inspects production at meter manufacturing company in Anambra
Geoffrey Anyanwu, Awka
In its bid to curb cases of estimated billing in the country by electricity distribution companies (DisCos), the House of Representatives has expressed its determination to encourage and strengthen operations of indigenous meter manufacturers.
Consequently, its Ad-Hoc Committee on Power to Curb Excessive Charges by Discos, has visited Sabrud Consortium, an local meter manufacturing firm based in Awka, Anambra State to ascertain the production capacity and efficiency of the company.
Speaking to newsmen after inspection of the factory, Ad-Hoc Committee Chairman Israel Ajibola Famurewa said there was need to encourage and protect local manufacturers and employ them, in an effort to bridge the metering gap which has resulted in excessive billing.
The lawmaker said Meter manufacturers need to be encouraged to enable them play their role in the sector as well as conserve foreign exchange.
Famurewa expressed satisfaction with the standard of Sabrud Consortium’s product.
“We’ve seen what this company can offer Nigerians in terms of production of meters; and basically why we are here is that we actually wanted to confirm the quantity they can produce per day, then the quality of their product and then we want to be sure that what they are producing is up to standard, what people will enjoy using and they will not regret. We don’t want them to give Nigerians what will later become problems to them,” Famurewa explained.
“Well, for what we have just seen here today, the little we were able to inspect, I think they are up to standard, but you know in metering, every meter needs to be certified. So you can’t inspect like 20 and 20,000 is okay. If I am commenting I will comment on the one we inspected this morning, and I say they are up to standard.”
The lawmaker assured that the House of Representatives would provide assistance not only to Sabrud but all local meter manufacturers in the country.
“This is because the only way to grow the sector and help the country is to encourage indigenous production of the product and discourage importation.”
The chairman added that though extant laws guiding the sector still enable Distribution Companies to distribute meters, the House of Representatives would amend the necessary law to enable customers buy directly from manufacturers.
“There is a policy called MAPS (Meter Access Provided Scheme); that policy, by the time it becomes fully operational, it will give the consumers opportunity to source their meter directly from the producers,” Famurewa said.
“You know there is a law that guides every sector; maybe the law that guides that sector as at today still empowers Discos to be in charge of meters. There is a new regulation and the House is looking at that law holistically where we tend after this exercise to amend the existing law in a way that Nigerians will be happy, both for distribution of electricity and meter supplies to consumers.”
A representative of the Anambra State government and Senior Special Assistant to Governor Willie Obiano on Power, Energy, Public Utilities and Water Resources, Mr Victor Meju, told newsmen that the issue of estimated billing and lack of meters for electricity consumers is a challenge in the power sector.
Meju lauded Sabrud for intervening in the sector, while calling on the Federal Government to support the company for having passed all regulatory and eligibility tests.
“They have a great vision of salvaging the power crisis in this country as it concerns metering,” he said.
“… the Federal Government has expressed worry over why Discos will supply power and place customers on estimated billing.
“But the law says every customer should have a meter, so firms like these, which have passed through the regulatory and standardization process, should be allowed to go into the market.
“I expect that after this visit the Federal Government should make it possible for people to go and purchase meters and get the Discos to install them,” Meju said.
Also speaking, Mr Chiso Nwangwu – the Managing Director of Electricity Meter Manufacturing Association of Nigeria (EMMAN), and Managing Director of Sabrud Consurtium – said the goal of Electricity Meter Manufacturing Association of Nigeria (EMMAN) was to ensure Nigerians are metered.
Nwangwu expressed hope that the visit of the House of Representatives would further convince the government that Nigerians had the capacity to bridge the metering gap.
“I am sure that they have seen that we are ready and capable of helping the Federal Government realize the objective of metering Nigerians in the shortest possible time,” he said.
“This can be achieved if consumers are allowed to buy meters directly from manufacturers. Our products are of international standards and SON MANCAP certified.
“If manufacturers are allowed to participate in the market, more jobs will be created, foreign exchange will be saved and consumers, as well as Discos, will be happy because issues of estimated billing will be a thing of the past,” said the company director.
Other members of the committee on visit were Hon. Onyemaechi Mrakpo, Hon. Anayo Edwin and Hon. Agboola Kehinde.