CWG’s drive for ‘Smarter Cities’, starting with its smart metering solution in Nigeria

In an interaction with Mr. Emmanuel Ilori, Business Development Manager, Smart Utility, Corporate Development at CWG Plc, he shed more light on the journey leading to CWG’s licensing as a Meter Asset Provider (MAP) by the National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and the prospects of utilizing smart meters in the Nigerian energy industry.

What is the role of CWG Plc in the Nigerian energy sector?

Let me start from the angle of the MAP (Meter Asset Provider); prior to now, what was obtainable within the electricity industry, DISCOs were solely responsible for providing meters to customers with huge gaps of unfulfilled demands. These gaps were due to unavailability of the meters, despite customer payments which left the industry with a deficit of a conservative estimate of over five million meters. Reviewing this huge gap, the Electricity Regulator identified the need to bring in Private support; similar to what the Telcos; thus, leading to the licensing of competent organizations, like CWG Plc; charged to handle the entire value chain operations of metering supply. The scope of which is not limited to procurement, but involves the entire gamut of metering supply for more efficiency, control, monitoring and accountability.

What is the next step, now that you have the Meter Asset Provider approval for Ibadan?

Ibadan electric is a huge project that will span about 3 years to completion, giving the metering gap in excess of one million, shared across the 7 approved MAPs. Hence, the next step is to pursue full implementation and ensure successful project completion.

Do private Estates have access to these meters?

Estates will fall into the retail aspect of the business and we focus mainly on Residential Estates who are Maximum Demand Customers to the DISCOs. CWG cannot deploy meters directly to individuals, but we can work with an Estate that has the capacity to serves as a Maximum Demand Customer to a DISCO.

Can you expatiate more on who Maximum Demand Customers are?

Maximum Demand Customers (MDC) are a customer category with the Discos that have their own centralized transformer and are not co-sharing a transformer with the general public. An MDC may have 10-20 units to a block of and be rated as an MDC to the Disco. This CWG solution is a smart utility system, which serves as a lifestyle improvement system for occupants’ energy consumption irrespective of location.

How will these efforts impact rural electrification?

The plan is all encompassing, as no customer segment is expected to be left out of this initiative. Irrespective of where you are; rural or urban communities; all that is required of a customer, is a connection to the National grid, attached to a Disco. The regulation already provides for such customers to be metered once they have consented to the T&C of the meter procurement.

So, does this mean NERC, oversees the functionality of the National Grid?

Yes, the National Grid is overseen by NERC in collaboration with some other regulatory/partnering entities, the Transmission company of Nigeria and the DISCOs. However, the umbrella body, the Ministry of Power, ensures each has clearly designated functions and roles.

CWG has since deployed the smart metering solution to the SURA Complex and is on the lookout to support mostly rural communities where there are deficiencies in the operations of the national grid. This goes inline with the overall objective of the CWG mission of deploying technology solutions that enable growth.

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