April 16, 2024

Minister’s inspection of MEMMCOL’s facilities showcase firm’s contribution to metering

0

Adebayo Obajemu

As Nigeria struggles against perennial shortage in electricity supply, bringing millions of its consumers under a more accountable, transparent metering system has become a big problem .

As at September 30, 2023, Nigeria’s metering gap stood at over 7 million – though reports suggest it could be more than that. This is amid frequent grid collapse, which as at today, seems to have defied solutions.

A report by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) shows that out of the total 12,825,005 registered electricity customers, only 5,707,838 have meters, indicating that over 7.1 million registered customers still are subjected to the estimated billing system.

To close this gap, President Bola Tinubu-led administration recently established a Presidential Metering Initiative, which was announced by Adebayo Adelabu, minister of power.

The minister, who put the metering shortfall at 8 million, reiterated the federal government’s commitment to eliminate estimated billing by the end of 2024 and close the gap within the space of three to five years, through the new initiative.

“Citizens are tired of estimated billing because it always leads to cheating between consumers, staff and company. Before the end of this year, we are looking at the possibility of ending estimated billing because we want transparency and objectivity in our billing system,” Adelabu said, even though he did not elaborate on the modalities for the new initiative and specific targets.

“We have up to eight million meters gap in Nigeria and what the initiative seeks to achieve is to close this gap within three to five years. This means that an average of two million meters is required on a yearly basis and achieving the target is compulsory for citizens to enjoy stable power supply,” he added
It was therefore heartwarming when Adebayo Adelabu, Minister of Power paid an inspection visit to MEMMCOL’s facilities in Mowe last week.

To close the shortfall in metering gap Momas Electricity Meters Manufacturing Company Limited(MEMMCOL),an indigenous electricity meters manufacturing company with different range of products has stepped in with confidence and a track record of competence and delivery.

Though established in 1995, Momas has defied stereotypes in the industry by locally manufacturing the first dual tariff meter in the world that can switch from On-grid to Off-Grid with accurate data measurements.

During the inspection, Adelabu hinted that the Federal Government had met with local meter producers, assuring them of greater support to enable them double their production efforts as the country pushes for robust indigenous meter industry.

He stated that Nigeria is aiming to bolster national self-reliance and possibly end meter importation soon.

According to him, the Ministry is assiduously making efforts on robust strategic plans for a comprehensive import substitution strategy, adding that there is the need for domestic production to fortify the country’s economic resilience.

On the facility tour he stressed the benefits of import substitution, including job creation, technological advancement and enhanced economic stability.

Adelabu revealed that over 90 per cent of the hardship in the country is attributed to import dependency, noting that when naira loses its value, it becomes expensive to import.

He said: “We will stop import substitution by supporting local production, which will reduce dependency on importation by encouraging and supporting our local producers, incentivising and patronising them.”

Adelabu stated that by giving preference to domestic production over imports, it would firm up the nation’s industrial base and stimulate sustainable growth amid a global climate of economic uncertainty, fostering self-sufficiency and mitigating external risks.

The minister remarked that Nigeria’s heavy reliance on imports is a significant factor contributing to the depreciation of the nation’s currency.

According to him, the current administration aims at steering the nation towards import substitution, underscoring the importance of supporting and fostering local manufacturers to achieve this objective.

Adelabu stated that : “Apart from supporting and encouraging them, we must also incentivise them by providing the conducive atmosphere that will enhance their production activity in terms of cost. Another consideration is to be competitive with the imported products, and, lastly, we need to patronise our local manufacturers.

“I’m impressed with what I’ve seen. I’ve seen the production process here, and I can confirm to you that I’m quite impressed with the local content of the products of MOMAS.

“Sincerely, I never believed they had such production technology. Even over 80 per cent of the content is done locally, so I’m quite impressed.”

Chairman, MEMMCOL, Kola Balogun, at the occasion praised the minister’s initiative to reinstate confidence in local capabilities during his inspection of their facility, confirming that they possess the necessary resources to contribute significantly to Nigeria’s manufacturing sector, while meeting local demands in terms of volume.

EnergyDay investigations have shown that Momas Electricity Meters Manufacturing Company Limited(MEMMCOL), has been a silent achiever in the area of meter production.

As the first indigenous electricity meters manufacturing company with different range of products. Momas has actually defied stereotypes in the industry by locally manufacturing the first dual tariff meter in the world that can switch from On-grid to Off-Grid with accurate data measurements.

The success of the company may in part be attributed to the sterling team managing it. It’s composed of a tight-knit, talented group with a shared vision of delivering consistently great results for their clients.

The Management is led by Engr. Kola Balogun FNSE, MNSE, who is the
Chairman, Momas Group, while
Hammed Abiodun is the
Managing Director, while
Engr. Mudashiru Okeola is the
Chief R&D Manager.

Engr. Toluwase
Collins is the
Chief in charge of Production, as Mr, Olugbenga
Ayo-Omodara is the
Chief Commercial Officer, while
Mrs. Olajumoke Aladekomo is the Human Resources Manager.

In a recent interview with Punch, Engr.Balogun talked about what motivated him to move into the uncharted terrain of meter manufacturing.

Hear him: “The company is the first indigenous prepaid energy meter manufacturing company. If one does not find out what caused the failure of yesterday, one cannot sustain the tomorrow one wants to build. During the old days of the power sector, it was a post-paid system that was in place. It was meant to create responsibility in the sense that when one uses power, one will have to pay after the billing circle.

“But, because the system was not functioning properly as there were no responsibilities on the part of the state to the citizens, it made the citizens to have apathy towards paying for services, especially when it concerned the government. The refusal by the people to pay for electricity led to loss of revenue in the operations of the then National Electricity Power Authority, as they were not collecting revenue sufficiently. Therefore, cost recovery was not guaranteed for investment in the upstream sector, which were the generation and transmission companies. Also, the services then were not enhanced in a way that would give comfort to the consumers to pay. It was a situation where officials would go into people’s houses, give them estimated billings, and compel them to pay; or a situation where power officials would refuse to connect consumers until they paid reconnection fees.

“All these challenges were the reasons that made the prepayment system inevitable to save the sector from imminent collapse. I am proud to say that I brought this prepayment solution to the downstream of the power sector out of genuine concern and commitment to contribute to the development of the power sector. This system has really helped in giving confidence to the consumers, as well as improve the revenue of the distribution companies.

“We started this business of prepaid metering around 1995. Back then, we were importing the prepaid energy meters from South Africa. They were happy with us because orders were coming, and we were opening so many letters of credit. I was also making good profit, but I was not fulfilled because it had always been my desire to add value to my area of specialization, which is electrical electronics. I then asked myself an important question, which was, ‘How do we continue to import meters for a population that is growing astronomically’? Then, I thought that there was a need for the energy meters to be made locally, and I took a shot at it.

“However, it was not an easy decision because as of that time, there was no incentive in place to encourage the manufacturing of energy meters locally. Also, the company we were buying meters from in South Africa was faced with major hindrances, such as a lack of stability on the policy line. So, we decided to take the bull by the horns and take the risk of establishing the manufacturing facility here in Nigeria.

“Designing a meter is not a classroom exercise, so we needed to go outside the scope of the normalcy of engineering to learn how a meter is designed, which led to us into a customised school of learning, manufacturing facility, tests, and standards involved in meter manufacturing. We needed to first bridge the knowledge gap because the people who had the technology were not even ready to share it with us. We had to prove to them that we could acquire it, even if we were not given. That was how we started the manufacturing journey.

He said of the market today ” in the sector today, there are different categories of manufacturers— original equipment manufacturers, complete knockdown manufacturers, and semi-knockdown manufacturers.”

“However, we are the only original equipment manufacturer in the downstream of the power sector; others are CKD and SKD assemblers. The difference between us and others is that we design from scratch to finish. What we procure essentially are components such as transistors, resistors, integrated circuits, and diodes. These are smaller components that we buy in line with our design. We often get them from China or Japan, because there are certain parameters that supervise components, in terms of integrity, tolerance level, and what they are to be used for. That gives us authority over meters that we design, because we can choose to do it in any way, since we are the owners of the intellectual property.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *