The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, the Nigerian Electricity Management Services Agency (NEMSA) and Chief Electrical Inspector of the Federation, Aliyu Tukur Tahir, yesterday allayed fear over the proposed Standard Transfer Specification (STS) prepaid meters upgrading using Token Identifier (TID).
Tahir said NEMSA would 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.
Also stressing that the agency would ensure that the safety of lives and properties would be guaranteed, Tahir, in a statement signed by the Head Communication and Protocol Unit of NEMSA, Ama Umoren, said the proposed commencement of the exercise by the Distribution Companies would not negatively impact the public.
Tahir advised electricity consumers not to panic, 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 January 1, 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, 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 faster 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 to cater to 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, the distribution companies (DISCOs) will provide their prepaid meter customers Key Change Tokens (KCT) alongside their regular energy tokens when purchasing electricity”, he said.
Tahir further stated that the prepaid meter end-users would 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 finalise 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”, Tahir said.