Electricity experts and stakeholders in the Nigerian power sector are in Jos, Plateau state to undertake investigation into issues arising from the newly introduced smart metres by the Jos Electricity Distribution Company (JEDC).
Following complaints from energy consumers in Plateau state over high charges and alleged irregularities from the newly-fixed smart prepaid metres and a statement by the Nigeria Electricity Management Services Agency (NEMSA) that it did not accredit the new smart metres as they have not been tested and certified by the agency, JEDC had last month suspended its installation and invited NEMSA, the press and the public for a round of testing and re-certification.
The state commissioner for water resources and energy, Mr David Jafaru Wuyep, officials from the federal ministry of mines, power and energy, the Jos Electricity Distribution Company (JEDC), and the representatives of the coalition of Plateau residents as well as the Nigeria Electricity Management Services Agency (NEMSA) went round and conducted testing and re-certification of the new prepaid smart metres in some areas of Jos.
The surveillance exercise was supervised by officials from the federal ministry of mines, power and energy while Nigeria Electricity Management Services Agency (NEMSA) conducted the testing and certification of the smart metres to ascertain their validity and standard.
Earlier on, Mr Wuyep explained the reason for the exercise and the composition of interest groups involved in the process.
“Today, stakeholders in the energy sector are going round for metre testing. We are testing the metres in response to the complaints of consumers that their bills are high.
“So, JEDC together with the ministry have invited the regulators from the federal level . We have NEMSA here, who are going to carry out the test. We have NERC here, that is national regulators that tell us what to do in the industry. We also have with us here the Coalition of Energy Consumers in Plateau State. And also in this team are the NIEEE, that is the Nigeria Institution of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.”
Areas visited include Rayfield where the exercise was conducted in the presence of members of the press and security agencies amidst feeling of mistrust in some residents who fret that the result of the investigation might already be predetermined against their interest.
Commenting on the rate of consumption of the prepaid smart metres, the executive director, marketing and investment, Jos Electricity Distribution Company, Veer Jibo attributed the increased rate on the charges to the increase in power supply.
He noted that the smart prepaid metre take accurate measure of a customer’s electricity consumption, and so could not be an instrument of exploitation.
A community leader in one of the area that smart metre testing and re-certification was carried out by NEMSA, Dr Edward Rinko commended the step taken by the JEDC to reestablish trust with their customers.
On their part, the Nigeria Electricity Management Services Agency (NEMSA) said the procedure will take two weeks before arriving at a conclusion.