Meter: NEMSA allays fear of electricity consumers over upgrade

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Abuja

The Nigerian Electricity Management Services Agency (NEMSA) has assured electricity consumers using pre-paid meters that units already purchased will not be lost due to the ongoing meter upgrade.

Mrs Ama Umoren, Head Communication and Protocol Unit, NEMSA in a statement in Abuja, said the Managing Director of NEMSA, Mr Tukur Tahir, gave the assurance on Sunday.

According to the statement, Tahir is reacting to enquiries from electricity  consumers over the ongoing discussion on Standard Transfer Specification (STS) of prepaid meters upgrading by means of Token Identifier (TID) rollover, set to commence soon.

The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) had recently directed electricity customers across the country to update their metering devices or face challenges with recharging by 2024.

NERC  explained that the process of updating would be free of charge with customers expected to approach the power Distribution Companies (Discos) on how to go about it.

The statement assured customers that they had nothing to fear as the meter upgrade process would not affect the credit unit balance on their meters.

It stated that the credit balance would remain intact after the upgrade, adding that the meter upgrade was a one-time process.

The statement said Tahir advised electricity consumers not to panic, stressing that the token Identifier was a 24-bit field, contained in STS.

It assured the public of it’s readiness to ensure that all electricity meters and instruments deployed in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) were of the right standard.

The statement said the agency would also ensure that all electrical instruments met specifications, safety and quality, to accurately measure and record electrical energy consumed and guarantee safety of lives and property.

According to the statement, the token identifier is a 24-bit field, contained in STS compliant tokens that identified the date and time of the token generation.

It is used to determine if a token has already been used in a prepaid meter.

“The TID represents the number of minutes elapsed since the base date of 1st January 1993. The incrementing of the 24-bit field means that at some point in time, the TID value will roll over to a zero value,” he said.

 ”In order to overcome the TID rollover occurrence, all meters will require key change tokens with the roll over bit set which will be provided by the utility companies when the key change tokens are imputed, ” the statement added.

The statement said the process would force the meters to reset the TID stack memory to 0 and change the meter key at the same time.

It noted that the process would not make energy meters faster or slower, adding that “there was no need for consumer to panic as the TID rollover will not alter or change the metrological properties of electricity meters.

” That have been certified by NEMSA, to accurately measure and record electrical energy consumed.

“ Meter manufacturers will be required to change their production processes in order to cater for the new manufacturing hardware secure modules and key load files.

“They are also required to start manufacturing meters on the 2014 base date as will be specified by their customers when they have updated their vending systems.

“Also, that the Distribution Companies (DISCOs) will provide their prepaid meter customers Key Change Tokens (KCT) alongside their regular energy tokens when purchasing electricity”.

 The statement also quoted the NEMSA boss as saying that “the prepaid meter end-users would be involved in the final piece of the TID rollover key change process.

“The process would involve a special pair of tokens called a Key Change Token (KCT) that would be entered into the prepaid meter to finalise the update of the prepaid meter softwares.

“Customers must upgrade their prepaid meters by sequentially entering the two KCT tokens (KCT1 & KCT2) and then the energy token, to be provided by the DISCO.

”Customers must ensure that any unused or previously purchased energy tokens are loaded into their meters before the expiry date.

”Subsequent energy token purchases will continue as usual after the upgrade has been completed”.

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