‘Why Discos hardly patronise local meter manufacturers’
From the nation’s electricity distribution companies, yesterday came a verdict that importing the majority of pre-paid meters required in the sector was not just a choice, but a necessity.
The Discos noted that the greatest attraction of the foreign made meters was the availability of credit facilities.
Executive Director of the Association of Nigeria Electricity Distributors (ANED), Sunday Oduntan made the revelation in an interview in Abuja.
He highlighted the biggest challenge of local producers to be large of support from Nigerian banks.
He listed quantity, vendor financing, and cost, as some of the other attractions that Discos enjoy from foreign meter dealers.
According to him, “our local meter manufacturers have challenges. The banks are not willing to finance them. As such the local manufacturers are not able to give us credit facilities. With the foreign producers, we can get meter supply and we pay at a later date.
“We also have to battle with the issue of specifications with our meter manufacturers in Nigeria. There is a lot that needs to be improved before our local meter producers can compete.”
He stressed, however, that the Discos patronize the local meters to procure meters under the Credited Advance Payment Metering Implementation (CAPMI) scheme, as part of its concerted efforts at ensuring speedy and timely metering of all electricity customers under its network.
Oduntan asked for patience from Nigerians, noting that the operators were working very hard to fix the sector.
He said: “The reform process is a very long journey. We are just on step 2 of a 5 step journey. By the time we get to the final step of that journey, there will be a total revolution of the power sector.
“For instance, in other climes, you can state in Abuja and choose to have your power supply from Ikeja Disco. In England where I lived for 26 years, I lived in Kent and was using Scottish Power in Scotland, far North of England. You can change you service provider. It is like being on Etisalat and wanting to change to MTN and you just remove the SIM and change to another.
But in this case, it is not about changing anything. But that is a long way off for us in Nigeria.”