By Udo Ibuot, Chief Sub Editor
MANUFACTURERS of prepaid and post paid electricity meters in the country have urged the electricity distribution companies, DISCOs, to begin to look inwards and patronise locally produced meters.
The meter manufacturers said their members were at a loss to observe that the DISCOS were reluctant to patronise both the prepaid and postpaid meters from them despite the great need for such meters by consumers.
They noted that while meters manufactured in Nigeria passed through environmental tests of humidity, temperature and heat, foreign manufactured meters did not pass through such rigour, stressing that Nigerian manufactured meters were better than imported ones.
The manufacturers spoke during an interactive session with members of the Consumer Rights Advancement Organisation, CRADO, at the Momas Electricity Meters Manufacturing Company Limited, MEMMCOL, at Orimerunmu, Ogun State.
Speaking under the auspices of Electricity Meters Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, EMMAN, the General Manager, Commercial, of the Momas Electricity Meters Manufacturing Company Limited, MEMMCOL, Mr. Olayinka Lawal, said patronage of Nigerian meters would enable these local manufacturers to retain their trained engineers, adding that his company was operating with skeletal staff at the moment, having already asked about 60 per cent of the 150 workforce to stay home.
Lawal said MEMMCOL produced meters in line with the standard transfer specification, noting that that this allows other meters to communicate or interface with one another.
On why the power distribution companies had not taken advantage of the local production of prepaid and postpaid meters, Lawal said with its installed capacity of 1.2 million meters a year or 100,000 meters a month, his factory could meet the demands of the distribution companies, stressing that the company has brought all stakeholders to the plant to observe the production process.
He said, “all CEOs of all the DISCOs have been here. Eko, Ikeja, Ibadan DISCOs have been to the factory. Minister of state for power, the minister of trade and investment, Aganga, the current minister of industry, Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC commissioner, Ekpo, has also been here. Even the NERC commissioner for standards, Mr. Awolokun has been here.
“The Standards Organisation of Nigeria, SON, has also been here up to four times. However, because the plant has stopped full production following the lack of patronage, the final approval of SON has been put on hold.”
At the UNISTAR and MOJEC electricity meters manufacturing companies, CRADO realised that a sizeable stock of all types of electricity meters were being manufactured and available in the country but were not being patronised by the DISCOs.
Speaking on the visit, president of the Consumer Rights Advancement Organisation, Chief Deolu Ogunbanjo, said he was shocked to realise that despite the humongous demand for prepaid and postpaid meters, and their local manufacture by several firms in the country, the DISCOs were reluctant to buy them and supply to electricity consumers in the country.