- Prepaid meter users across Nigeria have been advised to take their meters for upgrading before November 2024
- NERC, the electricity regulatory agency has stressed the importance of the upgrade as a one-time process.
- Consumers need not worry as the upgrade will not affect their reserved units nor make their meter run faster.
The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has issued a directive for prepaid meter users in the nation to ensure the update of their meters prior to November 2024.
NERC has emphasized the importance of prepaid meter users contacting their respective distribution companies (DisCos) to initiate the meter upgrade process.
A portion of the Nigerian population raised concerns about the motive behind the update, contending that it could serve as a mechanism for increasing electricity tariffs.
Additionally, some individuals voiced apprehension that the upgrade might introduce malicious software that could potentially disrupt the functionality of certain prepaid meters.
In this article, Legit.ng breaks down all you need to know about NERC’s planned meter upgrade.
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Why is NERC requesting upgrade of prepaid meters?
The regulatory agency underscored that by November 2024, STS (Standard Transfer Specification) standard meters would undergo a significant transformation referred to as "Roll Over."
Consequently, it is imperative that all meters are upgraded to meet specific standards before this deadline.
To address the occurrence of TID (Token Identifier) rollover, all meters will require key change tokens with the rollover bit activated.
These key change tokens will be provided by Utility Companies, and when inputted, this process will prompt the meters to reset the TID stack memory to 0 while simultaneously changing the meter key.
Moreover, each credit token contains a unique token identifier (TID) encoded within its 20 digits. This TID serves to prevent token replay at the meter.
The Token Identifier is a 24-bit field found in STS-compliant tokens, responsible for identifying the date and time of token generation.
This information is used to determine whether a token has previously been utilized in a prepaid meter.
How to do the meter updating process
In relation to the updating procedure, NERC has outlined that consumers will receive two complimentary Key Change Tokens (KCT) from their individual electricity distribution companies (DisCos).
These tokens will be distributed to consumers in a manner similar to their electricity token purchases.
To effect the update, consumers will input these tokens into their meters, following the same process used for entering their electricity tokens.
Upon acceptance of the token by the meter, an automatic upgrade will be initiated.
NERC has also extended advice to all prepaid meter users, encouraging them to contact their respective DisCos for additional details regarding the updating process.
Units in meter remain untouched
Nigerian Electricity Management Services Agency (NEMSA) has assured prepaid meter users that their reserved units at the time of the upgrade will not be touched.
This means whatever unit is found in the meter before the upgrading will definitely remain after the process is completed and it will not result in any acceleration of its usual operational pace.
Upgrade is a 1-time process
The regulator has also hinted that the upgrade is a one-time process as customers will likely never be asked to come for a repeat of the process in the nearest future.
Meter upgrade is free of charge
While it has also assured prepaid meter users that the upgrade is totally free of charge, NERC advised users to contact their respective electricity distribution companies (DisCos) for more information on the process.
Deadline for meter upgrading
NERC has stated that the deadline for the upgrade is November 2024. It expects that all customers must have completed this process before then.
Any prepaid meter that doesn't undergo the upgrade at the expiration of the deadline, will no longer work and users will not be able to recharge, resulting in a loss.
NERC Orders DisCo to Open Customer Care Centres
In related news, Legit.ng reported that NERC issued a mandate to electricity distribution companies (Discos) to create customer engagement platforms.
Discos are required to establish these platforms within three months, starting September 1, 2023.
This directive was communicated through a document issued by NERC, identified as order number NERC/2023/006, under the title 'Order on deployment of customer engagement platforms.'
The responsibility of funding the deployment of these customer engagement platforms is expected to be borne by the Discos themselves, with NERC emphasizing its commitment to monitoring the implementation of this order to ensure compliance by the Discos.