The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) is collaborating with electricity distribution companies for aggressive deployment of smart meter technology in the power sector as part of the bid to tackle the incidences of electricity meter cloning and other forms of fraud in the industry.
The commission disclosed in Abuja that it has taken delivery of a completed technical work it commissioned on regulation for smart metering which will enable it set up the appropriate framework for deployment of smart meters to distribution networks in the country.
According to NERC, most licensed electricity distribution companies in the sector have indicated interest in deploying the technology in their networks and the expected regulation will provide the supporting framework for such development in the sector. “This regulation will provide the framework for deployment of smart meters to protect the revenues of the distribution companies and help customers better manage their electricity consumption”, NERC Chairman, Dr. Sam Amadi said.
According to him, “the draft regulation will be put out for public review and consideration before it is finalised and approved as a regulatory document for use in this regard.
“The Commission has also received completed technical work on the regulation on smart metering. This draft regulation is now slated for public consultation to enable operators and the general public review and comment on the regulation before it is finalised and approved by the Commission,” Amadi added.
He further explained that many of the distribution companies, in a bid to overcome metering cloning and other forms of frauds against the electricity market, are resorting to smart meter. “This regulation will provide a supporting framework for smart metering in the Nigerian electricity market,” the NERC boss explained.
On the impact of electricity theft on the revenue of the sector, Amadi said: “I want to warn customers to stop engaging in criminal acts of stealing power. It is this sort of sabotage at the retail level that increases the commercial losses that increase tariff that consumers pay.”
He, however, requested electricity consumers’ devotion to doing the right things in the sector, and thus asked that extant acts of fraud in the sector be reported to the distribution companies. “So, it is in the interest of consumers to report their neighbours who engage in such criminal activities to the distribution companies and the security forces. By protecting electrical installations, we reduce the cost of electricity generation, transmission and distribution. And we benefit in terms of improved power supply and lower tariff,” Amadi added.
By Olisemeka Obeche