The Senate Committee on Power has expressed concerns over its perceived abysmal performance of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission on its Mass Metering Project in the country despite N33.4bn already released by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
The Senate Committee stated this at an interactive session with the NERC on Thursday.
Officials and representatives of the various Electricity Distribution Companies also attended the forum at the Senate.
The NERC Chairman, Sanusi Garba, said the Commission only recorded 13 per cent implementation as of 19th of March 19 2021.
He said the project is expected to provide one million meters to houses across the country between October 2020 and April 2021.
Garba said, “While 403,000 out of the targeted one million meters have been delivered to the various DISCOs, only 127,000 have been installed, representing 13 per cent performance”.
He, however, attributed the poor performance to delay in disbursement of fund, the chunk of which he said was made available to the DISCOs in February this year.
He said, “Target performance duration for the project which is phase one, entails metering of one million houses across the country in reducing the metering deficit of 6.5 million, is six months, that is from October 2020 to April 2021.
“Though out of the N59.2bn earmarked for it, N33.4bn has been released to the various DISCOs by the Central Bank of Nigeria but disbursement of the releases were very slow which resulted in many of them, accessing the fund in February.
“This largely contributed to the poor performance percentage by the DISCOs for now, on the National Mass Metering project.
“But with chunk of the funds available to the DISCOs now, the implementation performance index will rise astronomically within the next few weeks,” he said.
Obviously not impressed by the NERC Chairman’s performance report, the committee of the Senate panel, Senator Gabriel Suswam chided the Commission and the DISCOs for poor performance.
Suswam said based on the poor performance recorded so far, essence of intervention made by the federal government with the N59.2bn loan may not be achieved.
He said, “Your performance report on the mass Metering project is not impressive and encouraging at all.
“Nigerians are not happy that all efforts being made by the federal government to get electricity consumption metered are being thwarted in one way or the other.
“Estimated billings is not acceptable and that is the reason why the intervention was made.
“In the light of this, this Committee will want your Commission and the DISCOs to appear before it again by the end of next month, to see whether the assurance given on better performance will be done or not,” he said.
However, the NERC Chairman assured the Committee of better performance in the coming weeks.
He said, “All comments made are well noted and will gear us for increase performance.”