Customers Still Awaiting One Million Meters Promised By Govt
Electricity consumers may have to wait till the end of 2018 for their homes to be metered as the National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has said it might not sanction distribution companies for not providing their customers with prepaid meters until the end of the five-year agreement they signed with the government to make the electricity consumption reading device available.
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Commission, Dr. Sam Amadi, who spoke with The Guardian on phone, said he was not considering sanction for the companies for not providing the meters since they have five years to do so after the take over of the former Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN).
But consumers are beginning to express doubt over the one million Prepaid meters promised by the Federal Government.
The Federal Government had promised to distribute one million smart meters to electricity distribution companies (DISCOs) nation wide, as its intervention in the distribution of power. Minister Of Power, Professor Chinedu Nebo said that the intervention was to help the companies, of which government has 40 per cent share to reduce the metering gap.
Consumers and DISCOs have been grappling with issues relating to appropriate billing, hence, a commitment on the part of government to provide one million meters was seen as a relief to consumers.
However, it has been over a month since the announcement was made and little has been said on when the meters will be delivered to the Discos and how they will be distributed among consumers.
Mr. Chukwuma Ogbonna, who runs a laundry shop, said the meter distribution was taking longer than necessary, as he expected government to swing into action the moment the announcement was made. Power supply, he said, was the life of his business, adding that the estimated billing system has constituted a nuisance to consumers.
Mrs Oladele Ayomipo who sells frozen foods at Ketu called the promise by the government to distribute meters a ruse, saying that it was meant to garner votes. She said the Federal Government had enough time to distribute the smart meters before election.
“What will happen if President Goodluck Jonathan loses the elections, will Buhari fulfill that mandate? Even if President Goodluck wins, I still do not trust politicians, several promises remain unfulfilled.” She said,
Chairman, Momas Meters, Engineer Kola Balogun has revealed that some local manufacturers are already having meeting with the government on how to supply meters and the quota that will be allotted to each local manufacturer to deliver.
He said talks might be concluded by the end of March.
However, Mr. Godwin Idemudia, Assistant General Manager and head of corporate communications of Eko Electricity Distribution Company (EKEDC) said his company has started distribution of meters to some homes in Festac and Mushin, while Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company (IKEDC) is yet to begin.
The Assitant General Manager Public Relations, Olaonipekun Adeyanju, had said that IKEDC would work with Kepco, a foreign organisation to provide meters.