The Nigerian Electricity Management Services Agency has expressed concern that Distribution Companies may have calibrated the electricity smart meters to read faster.
This is as some consumers reject the meters.
NEMSA Managing Director and Chief Electrical Inspector of the Federation, Peter Ewesor, who conveyed the position of the agency to the media, said the refusal of its customers to accept the meters was a major challenge in the sector despite efforts by the Federal Government to bridge the metering gap.
He also faulted the refusal of meter manufacturers, suppliers and DisCos to ensure that only certified electricity meters with crimp seal and test label by NEMSA’s National Meter Test Stations 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, the Nigerian Electricity Smart Metering Regulation and other extant regulations for deployment in Nigeria needs to be addressed in the sector.
Against the backdrop of the challenge, he urged consumers to reject meters that are not duly tested and certified by NEMSA.
“Despite the Federal Government’s efforts towards bridging the metering gap in Nigeria, there are challenges that stand as a bottleneck preventing its urgent realisation.
“There are complaints 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 were faulty and without any formal information. They would be connected directly and switched back to estimated billing,” he said.
Ewesor also identified poor earthing system as a major challenge to consumers, saying that with it, meters would register consumption due to virtual load when no one was consuming power and, consequently, consumers would be paying for energy not utilised.
He stated that the minimum acceptable earth resistance value for buildings and other electrical installations is two Ohms, addng that facilities/premises’ electrical installations without adequate earthing would cause the meter to malfunction.
“If your meter is not properly 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 it 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.
“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,” he added.
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