The federal government has granted the Yola Electricity Distribution Company (YEDC), a N5 billion loan for sourcing of 85,375 meters for its customers.
In December last year, the government said it was taking over the Disco and said it was ready to refined the sum of N26.9 billion for the acquisition of the company by private investors.
Minister of Power, Sale Mamman, who made the announcement in Yola, Adamawa State, during the launch of the mass metering programme for the YEDC, said the implementation of the programme was paying off as one of the most ambitious packages in the history of the sector in Nigeria.
“I am especially happy to inform you that the Federal Government of Nigeria has granted Yola Distribution Company a soft loan of N5,061,147,103.00 for sourcing of 85,376 meters.
“This comprises 62,324 single-phase and 23,052 three-phase meters under phase zero (0) of the National Mass Metering Programme. I, thus, call on the management of YEDC to make good use of this facility to significantly reduce the Aggregate Technical Commercial and Collection (ATC&C) losses.
“The ATC&C negatively affects the revenue stream of the company, as well as improve electricity supply to your esteemed and valuable customers,” he said.
Mamman expressed joy that Nigeria has finally got a solution for the long existing challenges of metering power consumption in the country.
“It is with great pleasure that I stand before you at this landmark event to flag-off the intervention policy of the federal government towards closing the metering gap in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry.
“This occasion is a clear testimony of Yola Electricity Distribution Company’s commitment to providing its customers enhanced service delivery.” He stressed.
The Nigerian electricity market, he said, has for many years struggled with inadequate revenue, thus creating significant liquidity challenge for all market participants in the value chain.
According to the minister, one of the major contributors to the funding challenge is the low level of metering for end-use consumers.
“This is the principal reason for customer resistance to payment of electricity bills due to the perceived lack of confidence and trust in estimated billing. The often-repeated reason for the low level of metering has been attributed to the inability of Distribution Companies (Discos) to raise financing for the purchase of meters,” he noted.
Mamman praised President Muhammadu Buhari for supporting the Discos with the financing towards the bulk acquisition of meters, describing the intervention of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in the provision of long-term low interest funds to the Discos as a boost for the sector.
He called on customers of YEDC to desist from tampering with electricity meters, saying that is not only on account of protecting the revenues of the Discos, but more importantly, for the safety of customers as there have been reports of consumers losing lives in the course of bypassing meters.
He also commended the management of YEDC for launching the novel initiative of the federal government and urged them to manage customer expectations, stressing that it would take some time to install the thousands of meters needed to close the gap.