All DisCos are beginning to take metering its customers seriously as AEDC joins Eko DisCos, PHED and EEDC in embarking on massive metering of its customers.
Reports suggest that Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) has committed over $150 million in metering infrastructure investments and urged the public to report anyone demanding fee for meters. It cited that this year alone, it has committed $2 million and N3.6 billion in metering and its infrastructure.
Meanwhile, the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC) will require about five years to issue the prepaid meters to all her customers in the southeast zone. The company, however, said that it has invested about N10 billion in the procurement of meters for her customers as a first phase of the metering project. A Director and board member of the EEDC, Dr. Stephen Dike disclosed on Friday in Enugu, while addressing the leadership of a protesting group at the headquarters of the EEDC.
The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the AEDC, Ernest Mupwaya, made these disclosures while fielding questions at the contract signing event between AEDC and the MOJEC International Limited, one of the indigenous manufacturers of prepaid meters, for the procurement of 60,000 meters.
He said already, the AEDC had procured 30,000 meters, adding that in few days’ time, another contract signing programme for the procurement of another 30,000 meters would be effected to meet up with the yearly target of 120,000 meters as reported by the Guardian newspaper.
Mupwaya explained that the meters are being deployed freely to only enumerated areas, adding that customers should resist anyone demanding any form of payment for the meters. The 60,000 meters being procured from MOJEC comprised of 48,000 units with single phase and 12,000 units with three phases.
In Enugu, a group Gender Equality Movement (GEM) had embarked on a protest over the high-energy billing and epileptic power supply in the state. Dike told the group that it was not in the interest of the company and its customers to continue with the estimated billing method.
He said that on taking over from the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) in 2013, the company in 2014 initiated a metering scheme which was truncated, adding that the development accounted for a large number of customers not presently captured by prepaid.
He, however, lamented that even when some customers have been covered, several of them resorted to by-pass, including senior government functionaries in the state.
“When we took over, we started metering our customers in 2014. Sadly, about 85 percent of the meters in Awkunanaw in Enugu were bye-passed. We then decided to stop metering in order to come up with a meter that will be difficult to tamper with by customers,” he said.
Dike stated that the process of metering customers was not an easy one, adding that the payback period of one installed meter was 19 years. “The cheapest pre-paid meter you can get is N30, 000 and it takes a minimum of 19 years to recoup the capital invested in one. In spite of that people are bypassing.
“That was why we stopped metering because we have no choice than to look for the type of meter that will be difficult to bye-pass,” he said.
Earlier, the leader of the protesting group, Mr Chukwudi Ojielo said that they were concerned by the high tariff charged EEDC customers even when electricity was not readily available.
Ojielo said that a current survey by the group revealed that the issue of high electricity tariff had added to the major challenges facing families.