The Managing Director/CEO, Nigerian Electricity Management Services Agency (NEMSA) & Chief Electrical Inspector of the Federation, Engr. Aliyu Tukur Tahir has appealed for calm over the planned upgrade of prepaid meters by the electricity Distribution Companies (DISCOs) in Nigeria.
Engr. Aliyu made the appeal in a statement by the NEMSA’s Head of Communication & Protocol Unit, Mrs. Ama Umoren on Sunday.
The NEMSA boss was reacting to public inquiries, especially from electricity consumers over the ongoing discussion on the issue of Standard Transfer Specification (STS) prepaid meters upgrading using Token Identifier (TID) rollover, set to commence soon by the DISCOs.
While noting their concerns, the NEMSA Chief Executive advised electricity consumers not to fear, stressing that the Token Identifier is a 24-bit field, contained in STS-compliant tokens, that identifies the date and time of the token generation which he said 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 stated.
According to him, in order to overcome the TID rollover occurrence, all meters will require key change tokens with the rollover bit set which will be provided by the Utility Companies when the key change tokens are imputed, that process will force the meters to reset the TID stack memory to 0 and change the meter key at the same time.
“ This process will not make energy meters fast or slower, hence, there is no need for panic, and 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”, he said.
Engr. Aliyu Tahir further stated that the prepaid meter end-users will be involved in the final piece of the puzzle – the TID rollover key change process. This process he said involves a special pair of tokens called a key change token (KCT) that would be entered into the prepaid meter to finalize the update of the prepaid meter software.
“Customers must upgrade their prepaid meters by sequentially entering the two KCT tokens (KCT1 & KCT2) and then the energy token, as 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.
“Let me assure all electricity customers that they have nothing to fear as the meter upgrade process will not affect the credit unit balance on their meters. The credit balance will remain intact after the upgrade. They are also to note that meter upgrade is a one-time process. Subsequent energy token purchases will continue as usual after the upgrade has been completed”, Engr Tahir said.
He assured the public of the readiness of NEMSA to ensure that all electricity meters and instruments deployed in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) are of the right standard, specification, safety, and quality to accurately measure and record electrical energy consumed and guarantee the safety of lives and property.