The management of Smart Meter Company Limited, an indigenous firm, has said partnership to distribution companies (DisCos) across the country will ensure that all Nigerians are metered.
The managing director of the company, Malam Ibrahim Babagana, while conducting some journalists round the plant in Kaduna, said there is need for an upward review of meters due to the economic challenges faced especially with foreign exchange.
He however stated that 4,000 single and three-phase meters are readily available in their factory.
Explaining the meter coupling process, he said, “Our meter now comes with a data concentrator. The kind of meters we have are called PLC-IS meters and they work with 2G, 3G and 4G networks, so instead of installing a sim card in every meter, you just put a sim card in the data concentrator and the meter will speak to the device.
“The device will be placed in the transformer by us and the distribution. We found out that it is more cost-effective, it is rugged and it works in different environments and about 100 meters can be attached to the device at a go.”
He noted that if effectively maintained, the meter can tackle meter bypass by some consumers as the device speaks to the distribution companies directly when connected.
He assured that the meters go through several checks by quality control officers to ensure that they are ready for the market adding, “In the assembly line for the single phase meters, there are six components to assemble before it moves to the next stage which is the pre-quality check and then it goes to the testing and calibration stage for the single and three phase.”
On lack of proper calibration, he said, “That is an issue of consumption. Some customers have so many items that they use which consumes energy and when they move from estimated billing to the meter, they expect that the meter will be similar in terms of its ability to capture what they have consumed. So when there is an increase they say the meter is faulty.”
He stressed that the company abides by the metering code which says impulse should be 1,000 before customers are charged.
He added that, “There is need for an upward review of meter prices because of the economic challenges being faced, especially with regard to foreign exchange. The government is aware of our challenges and concerns and discussions are ongoing to address some of the issues, especially price.
“Due to the merger of the FOREX market, it has become necessary for the price to be revisited and there is a need to create a willing buyer, willing seller environment between meter manufacturers and the distribution companies where we are a partner, as that is the only way the market can be sustained over a long period of time.”
While expressing hope on other forms of government interventions, he said the company will soon computerize its processes to provide efficient and effective meters to customers.